Vaughn Defendant Jarreau “Ruk”Ayers Fights to Overcome Illegal Conviction While Enduring Retaliation from the State

from It’s Going Down

An update on Jarreau “Ruk” Ayers, a defendant in the Vaughn 17 about his illegal conviction and the State’s subsequent retaliation through denial of medical care. To read more about the background of the Vaughn 17 case, go here.

One of two defendants illegally convicted in the Vaughn Prison uprising on Feb 1, 2017, Jarreau “Ruk” Ayers finds himself locked into a civil and criminal battle with the State of Delaware over his freedom and medical neglect. As part of his refusal to be submissive to an oppressive system, Mr. Ayers chose to represent himself at trial and skillfully discredited state witnesses. The prosecution, unable to definitively place him inside the building during the riot, attempted to attack Mr. Ayers’ character citing his confident demeanor during his pro se representation of himself in his case.

During closing arguments, the prosecutor stated, “You spent the better part of the last month with Jarreau Ayers. What about Mr. Ayers suggests that he is that person? That he is not going to do exactly what he wants to do, which is to go inside and join in what’s happening in there?” This statement under Delaware and federal law is a violation of the defendant’s 6th and 14th amendment rights. It’s illegal to use a person’s Constitutional privilege to represent themselves as evidence of guilt! The prosecutor essentially told the jury: “If he’s not afraid to stand up against this court, then he must be guilty of attacking these officers!” This statement erroneously insinuated that simply choosing to represent himself was a criminal act within itself.

The Delaware Supreme Court acknowledges that the prosecutor’s statement’s violated Mr. Ayers constitutional rights, but still refuses to vacate his sentence. In retaliation for his audacity to represent himself at his trial and in an apparent attempt to silence him, Mr. Ayers has been denied medical treatment. He was scheduled to have complete left knee reconstructive surgery back in 2017 but has not yet been provided this urgent medical procedure. He was locked down in Pennsylvania’s Restrictive Housing Unit and denied care. In September 2021, a federal court judge gave a memorandum opinion declaring the former DOC Chief Medical Director liable in stating: to prove deliberate indifference in the denial of medical treatment, all that needs to be established is that the delay or denial was a non-medical reason was the cause of Mr. Ayers not receiving his surgery. The judge concluded that Mr. Ayers’ security classification—a clearly non-medical reason—was driving the state to deny his surgery.

The federal court acknowledged that the denial of his medical care violated Mr. Ayer’s right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment under the 8th Amendment. Five years later, still no one has been held accountable for the abuse nor has his sentence been vacated for the violation of his constitutional rights that resulted in his illegal convictions. To submissively accept that the law can pick and choose what class of society the Constitution protects is to forfeit one’s own self-respect. Therefore, Mr. Ayers is seeking the assistance of the people to aid in the pursuit towards his freedom, whether through legal assistance, bringing awareness to his fight, or financial support. Ruk firmly believes that his freedom will come from the actions and demands of the people, not the integrity of the State!

In Contempt #12: New Year, Same Struggle for Abolition

from It’s Going Down

[This post only contains information relevant to Philadelphia and the surrounding area, to read the entire article follow the above link.]

Happy new year! Welcome to 2022 and the first installment of In Contempt!

In today’s column, we have a lot of news to cover. From updates on political prisoners, to ways to support abolitionist projects, publications, and groups. There’s so much going on, so let’s dive right in.

Political Prisoner News

Perhaps the biggest piece of political prisoner news from the last month is that Russell Maroon Shoatz has died, after 49 years in prison and 52 days out on “compassionate release”. You can read a statement on his passing from his representatives at the Abolitionist Law Center here, and another from the New York Anarchist Black Cross.

Maroon’s passing has also been marked by a poem from fellow political prisoner Sundiata Acoli.

Vaughn 17

There are a number of updates to share around the Vaughn 17. Vaughn 17 prisoner John Bramble, who was recently transferred back to Delaware, and Ronald “Comrade Pound” Maxime have launched a hunger strike demanding to be moved out of Vaughn due to the retaliation they have been facing. At SCI Phoenix in Pennsylvania, Vaughn 17 prisoner Dwayne “BIM” Staats is calling for people to help pressure the prison administration, who are trying to provoke an incident that could sabotage his progress back into general population. The Movement Magazine, published by Pennsylvania’s Human Rights Coalition, has recently published a story by BIM and Jarreau “Ruk” Ayers, telling the story of deceased Vaughn prisoner Kelly Gibbs and his former co-defendant Keith Gibson. Issue 45 can be downloaded from their website.

Finally, supporters are continuing to fundraise for Kevin Berry, a former Vaughn prisoner who was recently released and needs support as he adjusts to the outside world.

Uprising Defendants

Everyone should support the defendants facing charges related to their alleged participation in the George Floyd uprising – this list of our imprisoned comrades needs to be getting shorter, not longer. See Uprising Support for more info. The status of pre-trial defendants changes frequently, but to the best of our knowledge they currently include:

David Elmakayes 77782-066
FDC Philadelphia
PO BOX 562
Philadelphia, PA 19105

You can donate to David’s legal funds here.

Lore-Elisabeth Blumenthal 70002-066
FDC Philadelphia
PO BOX 562
Philadelphia, PA 19105

Phone Zap for John Bramble and Ronald Maxime: On Hunger Strike at James T. Vaughn Prison

from It’s Going Down

Comrade John Bramble (SBI 450202) and Comrade Pound, aka Ronald Maxime (SBI 646319), went on hunger strike at James T. Vaughn prison on Saturday, demanding to get transferred out to another facility. John Bramble was moved back to James T Vaughn prison after filing a successful lawsuit against PA a couple months ago, and has since been harassed by guards, moved to solitary confinement, under investigation, multiple times. Both he and Comrade Pound are both under investigation now in the hole by Lt. Dejesus who is seeking revenge for the 2017 prisoner uprising at C-Building in James T. Vaughn prison.

Both our comrades have not been told why they are under investigation. The guards lied to Ronald and told him he had a lawyer visit, then brought him to an interview room with Lt. Dejesus, where he was told he has a write up for “gang affiliation” (which is not news, and is well documented). Lt. Dejesus has never come to talk to Johnny, but he is supposed to. While under investigation, their mail has been tampered with and access to communication is limited.

Direct Calls:

Commissioner Monroe Hudson – (302) 739-5601

Jaime Young- (302) 857-5347;

Community Relations – (302) 857-5246

Shane Troxler at the Bureau of Prison – (302) 857-5221

Warden Robert May – (302) 653-9261

Governor John Carney – (302) 744-4101

Script:

“Hello, I am calling on behalf of two prisoners at James T Vaughn prison, John Bramble SBI 450202 and Ronald Maxime SBI 646319. They are both demanding to get transferred out of James T Vaughn to another prison facility, as they are not safe at James T. Vaughn since being held under investigation for over a week illegally. They have both been on hunger strike since Saturday. Ronald Maxime wants the warden to come speak to him. I urge you to transfer both of them to another facility.”

Monday November 29th: Letter-writing for Oso Blanco

from Philly ABC

images/oso-blanco.jpg

The National Native Day of Mourning (so-called Thanksgiving) marks the invasion, theft of land, and genocide committed against the Indigenous Native People by European colonialists and later by their Amerikan descendants. UFF Ohio 7 comrades, Kazi Toure and Jaan Laaman, will be conducting a 24 hour fast on Nov. 25th and ask you to join:

This fast is to recognize and highlight the genocide of Native People and the theft of Native land. This is NOT just a historical horror – it continues today with all the injustices, abuses and ongoing land and resources theft committed against Native People all across this imperialist – colonialist USA state. In particular we focus on and demand the immediate release of Leonard Peltier – Native Elder, AIM activist, teacher, mentor, sun dancer and our dear friend and brother. Leonard is a political prisoner, in captivity over 44 years! Leonard must be freed – all U.S.-held political prisoners must be freed! Many Native Councils and governments have long called for Leonard’s release. Very recently, 10 US Senators and Representatives have called for President Joe Biden to release Leonard Peltier. We welcome everyone, each one of you, to join Kazi and Jaan in fasting, however long and in whatever way is meaningful for you, on Nov. 25th. Also do all you can, to get Leonard out of captivity NOW– see Leonard’s website for how you can help! FREE LEONARD PELTIER! FREE ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS!

– Jaan Laaman

Philly ABC is hosting an anti-colonialist letter-writing in solidarity with imprisoned indigenous freedom fighter Oso Blanco. Join us Monday, November 29th, 6:30pm online! We’ll be sharing some information on Oso Blanco’s case, as well as updates on several political prisoners. As we write letters, the film ‘Zapatista’ will be streaming since Oso Blanco is being held captive for expropriating funds to support the Zapatistas. We also encourage folks to send birthday greetings to political prisoners with birthdays in December: Fred “Muhammad” Burton (the 15th) and Casey Brezik (the 30th).

In Contempt #10: Anarchist & Antifascist Prisoner News, Political Prisoners Released, George Floyd Repression Updates

from It’s Going Down

[This post only contains information relevant to Philadelphia and the surrounding area, to read the entire article follow the above link.]

Welcome to the tenth installment of In Contempt, your monthly one-stop shop for state repression news, political prisoners birthdays and updates, and information about how to support those being targeted by the State in the aftermath of the George Floyd rebellion.

With so much to cover, let’s dive right in!

Uprising Defendants

Everyone should support the defendants facing charges related to their alleged participation in the George Floyd uprising – this list of our imprisoned comrades needs to be getting shorter, not longer. See Uprising Support for more info. The status of pre-trial defendants changes frequently, but to the best of our knowledge they currently include:

David Elmakayes 77782-066
FDC Philadelphia
PO BOX 562
Philadelphia, PA 19105

You can donate to David’s legal funds here.

Lore-Elisabeth Blumenthal 70002-066
FDC Philadelphia
PO BOX 562
Philadelphia, PA 19105

Upcoming Birthdays

Dwayne Staats

One of the two Vaughn 17 defendants to be convicted for taking part in the Vaughn prison uprising of early 2017. Dwayne and his co-defendant Jarreau “Ruk” Ayers bravely admitted to their own parts in the uprising, and then, free to testify openly without fear of incriminating themselves any further, tore holes in the prosecution’s attempts to convict anyone else – as he put it, “we’d accept being stabbed in the chest to present others from getting stabbed in the back”. To learn more about Dwayne in his own words, you can read his account of the whole case here, check his writings on the Vaughn 17 site, his recent letter to the Kentucky Attorney General, or his contribution to the Vaughn zine, “Live from the Trenches.”

Pennsylvania uses Connect Network/GTL, so you can contact him online by going to connectnetwork.com, selecting “Add a facility”, choosing “State: Pennsylvania, Facility: Pennsylvania Department of Corrections”, going into the “messaging” service, and then adding him as a contact by searching his name or “NT0000”.

Birthday: November 10

Address:

Smart Communications/PADOC
Dwayne Staats, NT0000
SCI Phoenix
PO Box 33028
St Petersburg, FL 33733

 

Former Black Panther Russell “Maroon” Shoatz Freed From Prison After 49 Years

from Truthout

Russell "Maroon" Shoatz is pictured after his release from solitary confinement.

Russell “Maroon” Shoatz, the Black liberationist long respected as a political prisoner and freedom fighter by friends and supporters, was granted a medical transfer on Monday to leave a Pennsylvania prison for treatment and hospice after five decades of imprisonment.

A former member of the Black Panther Party and a soldier in the Black Liberation Army, Shoatz organized inside prisons for decades to abolish life sentences without parole, inspiring activists and attorneys to take up the cause.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court is now considering whether a legal challenge to the state’s practice of denying parole hearings to people serving life sentences for certain second-degree murder convictions can proceed. All life sentences in Pennsylvania excluded the possibility of parole, and the state has the highest per-capita rate of people serving life sentences in the nation and the world, according to the Center for Constitutional Rights.

The 78-year-old Shoatz, who remains highly influential within the Black liberation and prison abolition movements, is reportedly terminally ill after being diagnosed with cancer. In social media posts, activists and family members who spent years fighting for his release celebrated on Monday after a judge in Philadelphia agreed to transfer Shoatz from a prison to a hospital.

In 2014, Shoatz was released from solitary confinement after spending 22 consecutive years in “the hole” and later won a $99,000 legal settlement. Supporters say the solitary confinement amounted to retaliation against Shoatz’s efforts to organize other “lifers” and abolish what activists now call “death by incarceration,” or life sentences without the possibility of parole.

Shoatz, who is considered both a political prisoner and prisoner of war by supporters, was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison after a 1970 attack on a Philadelphia police station.

As they are today, tensions over racist police violence were running high in Philadelphia during the summer of 1970, when Police Chief Frank Rizzo ordered a crackdown on Black liberation groups ahead a national convention of the Black Panther Party. Anger boiled over after police once again killed an unarmed Black youth, and police were attacked in retaliation, leaving one officer injured and another dead. The attack prompted a raid on the Black Panther headquarters and the arrest of multiple activists.

Shoatz went underground but was arrested and convicted of murder two years later; supporters have said he was falsely accused. Shoatz escaped prison with other Black liberationists twice before being hunted by authorities and captured again. The liberationists were called the New African Political Prisoners of War.

Shoatz spent much of his life resisting solitary confinement, inspiring activists in the free world and working for the liberation of people sentenced to die in prison. Shoatz’s supporters say he is now free to rejoin his family during the final stage of his life.

Monday October 25th: Letter-writing for Dan Baker

from Philly ABC

dan-baker-letter-writing.jpg

Dan Baker is a social justice activist and former army vet. He went AWOL instead of fighting in Iraq, and then took his training to help defend Rojava with the International Freedom Battalion and was featured on VICE. Dan was also active during the George Floyd rebellion and took part in CHAZ . He was arrested on January 15th, 2021 after the FBI compiled social media posts related to Trump supporters’ actions on inauguration day to build a criminal case against him.

Dan was facing up to 10 years for two counts of transmitting a communication in interstate commerce containing a threat to kidnap or injure. On October 12th, he was sentenced to 44 months in prison and 3 years of supervised release. Join us on Jitsi (link will be shared the day of) as we listen to a podcast about the case and write letters of support to him. He is currently held at FDC Tallahassee, but will likely be moved to a longer-term facility in the coming weeks to serve out the remainder of his sentence.

We also encourage sending birthday cards or notes to political prisoners with birthdays in November: Ed Poindexter (the 1st), Joe Dibee (the 10th), Fidencio Aldama Perez (the 15th) and Josh Williams (the 25th).

Monday October 4th: Reportback Mailing and Card-writing

from Philly ABC

rdtw-2021-reportback-zine.jpg

In lieu of our usual monthly letter-writing event, we will be mailing printed copies of our 2021 Running Down the Walls reportback to over 30 political prisoners. This is one way to share and celebrate the energy garnered at the event as over 200 people gathered in Philly alone to move our bodies in solidarity with those on the other side of prison walls.

Join us this Monday at 6:30pm, at the northwest side of the dog bowl in Clark Park as we package and mail the reportbacks. Snacks and supplies are provided. We encourage people who want to discuss ideas on how to support political prisoners and prisoners of war to come hang out, and sign cards for political prisoners with birthdays in October: Jamil Al-Amin (October 4th), David Gilbert (October 6th), and Malik Bey (October 8th).

In Contempt #9: Running Down the Walls 2021; Eric King Trial, Hunger Strikes in Texas & Oregon

from It’s Going Down

[This post only contains information relevant to Philadelphia and the surrounding area, to read the entire article follow the above link.]

Vaughn 17

Vaughn 17 prisoner Kevin Berry is getting out, and Philly Anti-Repression are holding a fundraiser to help support him upon his release. You can read a previous statement from Kevin here.

Uprising Defendants

Everyone should support the defendants facing charges related to their alleged participation in the George Floyd uprising – this list of our imprisoned comrades needs to be getting shorter, not longer. The status of pre-trial defendants changes frequently, but to the best of our knowledge they currently include:

David Elmakayes 77782-066
FDC Philadelphia
PO BOX 562
Philadelphia, PA 19105

You can donate to David’s legal funds here.

Lore-Elisabeth Blumenthal 70002-066
FDC Philadelphia
PO BOX 562
Philadelphia, PA 19105

Upcoming Birthdays

Lore-Elisabeth Blumenthal

Lore-Elisabeth Blumenthal is a community care worker from Philadelphia and pre-trial political prisoner facing charges connected to her alleged participation in the George Floyd Uprising.

Birthday: October 27

Address:

Lore-Elisabeth Blumenthal 70002-066
FDC Philadelphia
PO BOX 562
Philadelphia, PA 19105

Running Down The Walls 2021 Reportback

from Philly ABC

We’re pleased to share the following reportback of our fourth annual Philadelphia Running Down The Walls in support of political prisoners and prisoners of war.

On sunny September 12, 2021, a light breeze persisted from off the lake in FDR park as participants gathered to check-in for their t-shirts, make donations, set up tables, and hang banners. For the fourth year in a row, the day kicked off an amazing yoga warm up lead by  Sheena Sood  to uplift the energy for the rest of the day. Our comrade Spiritchild from the  maroon party for liberation  emceed the event getting participants amped and queued up. Walkers left the start line around 11:10 am, followed by folks moving at a medium pace, and finally the runners around 11:30 am.

After the 5K, the crowd gathered as Spiritchild performed a song for the spirits of political prisoners, fallen comrades and ancestors, followed by pouring libations. Then we acknowledged the prisoners who were sponsored for and participated as part of the Philadelphia event: John Bramble and Paul Kali Hickman (Vaughn Correctional Center), Hector “Pica” Huertas and Jerome Coffey (SCI Pine Grove), Jacob Busic (Halifax Correctional Unit), Alejandro “Capo” Rodriguez-Ortiz and the 9 others participating with him (SCI Phoenix).

The first speaker was Mumia’s grandson, Jamal Jr. He started with the chant he’s heard his whole life – “Free Mumia!” – to remind everyone what the goal is, and then continued to share his raw emotions with us. Jamal spoke on how hard it was to see Mumia’s incision wounds from the recent open heart surgery, but his words come from more than just that. They come from a lifetime of fighting to free his grandfather. His call to action is for all of us to do one revolutionary act a day. See Jamal’s full speech from  Unicorn Riot’s  live stream  here.

I wish my grandfather was here to address you today. We have a puppet in his stead. I wish he was here, lending his voice for the liberation of others like he always does. I wish he was here laughing and telling stories, flanked by his wife, children, grandchildren, and other family. … He’s been abducted longer than most of us have been alive. Just think of that. … They intended to kill him, but the people had something to say about that. … They took him from me, and they still intend to hold him. I’m pretty sure we got something to say about that. They took him from my children, and they intend for him to die in there– to die behind enemy lines. … Freeing political prisoners is personal to me, because my grandfather has been a political prisoner all my life. He’s been a political prisoner most of my dad’s life. Bringing him home is the goal. You guys hear that? We got to bring him home. We have to.

We all got work to do, so I am going to require one revolutionary act a day. One revolutionary act could be sharing a revolutionary story. One revolutionary act could be joining in on a conversation of political prisoners and injustices that we need to challenge. There’s many ways we can do one revolutionary act a day… . When I’m asking you guys to voluntarily do one revolutionary act a day– don’t just do it because it makes you feel okay, you know it makes you feel right, makes you feel whole, makes you feel good, you know supporting political prisoners– do it because, you know, a lot of us, we don’t have a choice… In supporting political prisoners, and supporting revolutionaries, in a lot of ways you’re supporting the family members, you know, of revolutionaries … the ones who didn’t sign up for this.

The next speaker was former political prisoner,  Kazi Toure,  who was imprisoned for over ten years for his role in bombings carried out by the United Freedom Front (UFF) to combat Apartheid in South Africa and US Imperialism in Central America. Kazi traveled down from Boston to participate and share his wisdom, solidarity for Mumia and all political prisoners, as well as his experiences with Running Down The Walls both inside and outside prison. See Kazi’s full speech here.

Each year I see this [Running Down The Walls] growing and growing, more and more. And you know it’s something we really need to do because of the double standards that they have on this land. Where Mumia would already be out, and a lot of other political prisoners would be out. So we have to double our efforts.

As brother [Jamal] spoke before … [where] he was talking about doing one revolutionary act a day, I think the self-discipline plays into that. Just like where we start the day off with yoga, and then went on our walk and our run… we have to incorporate all that and study revolutionary movements, and who the political prisoners are. People should know them. They are in there because they made a choice. People made a conscious choice to fight against this government, and it’s racist, sexist, homophobic policies.

Following came a legal update from Nia Holston of the  Abolitionist Law Center,  on the current status of medical parole for political prisoner Russell Maroon Shoatz. Maroon has been imprisoned for 48 years and suffers from stage 4 cancer, to the point at which he is eligible for compassionate release into to hospice. However that didn’t stop a Judge last month from asserting this 78 year old man is an “undue risk of escape or danger to the community,” and denying his release. Nia and others from ALC are still fighting for his release, and they believe he will come home. See Nia’s full legal update  here.

I definitely want to acknowledge the family of Russell Maroon Shoatz that’s here today, and that we stand in solidarity with them. In August we filed a petition for compassionate release in his case, because of the illness, because of what he’s been going through, because he spent so long incarcerated. We’ve been working to file that petition to get him released. Now I have to say that unfortunately, Judge Scott of the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas did deny that petition in August of this past month, but we are still working. We are still preparing the litigation to continue that fight, and we believe that we will win.

But I will say, as you all know here, we know that we can’t rely on the legal system to do what’s right. We know that we can’t. And so, all of the work that you are doing, all the good work you’re doing to organize this event, and all of the work that the Free Maroon Now coalition is doing to support the litigation is so, so important.

Next up, we were again joined by Robert Saleem Holbrook. Saleem is a former juvenile lifer who was released in 2018 after spending over two decades in prison. He spoke at last year’s event about the political education and mentorship he received from Maroon and  Joseph “Joe-Joe” Bowen  while incarcerated with them. This year he spoke on the history of Jericho and their new Philly chapter that formed a few months ago. He also echoed the strength and victories of our movements to free political prisoners. See Saleem’s full speech here.

Jericho was founded in 1998 after a call was made by  Jalil Muntaqim … for all national organizations that support the Black liberation movement and support radical things in this country, to come together and march on Washington demanding the release of political prisoners who were casualties of this country’s war against the Black liberation movement, and this country’s war against the social protest movement of the 60s and 70s. … Since 1998, I’m proud to say that we have brought home a lot of political prisoners. Something that at one time seemed impossible. Jalil Muntaqim, the political prisoner who made that call, is now home. However not only is Jalil home, his comrades are also home. … A lot of times when you’re in the trenches fighting, you sometimes forget our victories … but we have victories that we need to uplift, and I think as a movement we need to uplift these victories a lot more… . There are so many who are released that gave inspiration to us that we need to acknowledge when we’re in their presence.

We have a lot more work to do. We got bring home Mumia Abu-Jamal … Russell Maroon Shoatz … Fred “Muhammad” Burton … Joseph “Joe-Joe” Bowen … Sundiata AcoliMutulu ShakurLeonard Peltier … You know today is his birthday, so we need to uplift Leonard Peltier’s presence [and] his fighting spirit today. Philly Jericho is part of this movement, this mass movement to liberate our political prisoners.

The final speaker was longtime ABCF member, Tim Fasnacht. Since 2005, Tim has been the person dispersing the monthly Warchest stipends to political prisoners and prisoners of war. He gave a brief update and history of the program. See Tim’s full speech  here.

Right now we’re up to 18 political prisoners [that] we send $50 a month. We also provide occasional legal money if someone needs help with legal fees. And [what] we also started over the past couple years as the Warchest has really grown, is a release fund. So we’re giving political prisoners who have been released over that last couple years anywhere from maybe $500 to maybe $3000 to help them get on their feet when they get out.

The Warchest started in 1994. It came about from comrades up in Patterson, New Jersey. They started writing and visiting different political prisoners. The first one they wrote to was Ojorie Lutalo … he’s been a huge inspiration to the formation of the ABCF in all different aspects, and he’s the one who coined the term “Warchest.” So you can thank him for it, you can thank Sekou Odinga and Sundiata Acoli – they’re the ones that kind of put together the list of people that we should get in touch with who were in need of financial assistance. We’ll just keep on doing this every year until they are all free.

Between speeches, we read aloud Running Down The Walls solidarity statements from political prisoners Oso Blanco and Bill Dunne, former political prisoner Jaan Laaman, and Capo on behalf of the Vaughn 17 prisoners who participated with us. Many people also signed up to join the Free Mumia listserv, which can also be subscribed to here. All the while, were accompanied by powerfully symbolic 18 ft. Mumia puppet in the background. If you appreciated the puppet, please donate to sustain that project. The speeches wrapped up with some short announcements of upcoming events and another reminder of the many political prisoners we’ve brought home, followed by a group photo on the pavilion steps.

We’d like to thank Food Not Bombs Solidarity for the snacks and refreshments, to Unicorn Riot for the full  livestream  of speakers, statements and announcements, and photographer Joe Piette for yet another collection of amazing photos. We were honored to be joined by former political prisoner Albert Woodfox of the Angola 3, who traveled all the way from New Orleans to be a part of the event. In that same vein, we were honored to be joined by and Kazi Toure and former Anarchist prisoner of war, Ojorie Lutalo,  as well as recently released Pennsylvania prisoners Arthur ‘Cetawayo’ Johnson (August 11, 2021) and Eric Riddick (May 28th, 2021).

We thank Prison Radio, Mobilizaton for Mumia, Campaign to Bring Mumia Home, and International Concerned Friends and Family of Mumia Abu-Jamal for all the support in promoting and making this event the success that it was. We would also like to thank Spiritchild for emceeing the event, Sheena Sood for leading the Yoga warm-up, Latziyela and Come On Strong  for printing the shirts, and people who tabled for Mobilization for Mumia, Here & Now Zines, IWW, Socialist Rifle Association, and a Black Panther support crew.

We thank the 200+ people who attended in person or remotely from Pennsylvania, North Carolina, California, Vermont, Illinois, New York, Virginia, Washington, Texas, Minnesota, Ohio, Arizona, Massachusetts, D.C., Malmo (Sweden), and Tokyo (Japan). Together we raised a total of $10,505 to be split between Mumia Abu-Jamal and the ABCF Warchest  that sends monthly stipends to 18 political prisoners with little or no financial support. A full breakdown of Warchest funds in and out since 1994 is available  here.  Funds available beyond the reserved amount needed for the monthly stipends will be disbursed as one-time donations to other political prisoners who demonstrate financial need, or to the release funds of the next comrades to come home.

We look forward to more successes in the next year as we further the struggle to free Mumia and abolish the carceral system! We encourage folks to donate what they can to the Ant Smith Defense Committee. An outspoken supporter of Mumia Abu-Jamal and all political prisoners, Ant is a beloved educator, community member, and organizer who participates in Running Down The Walls. Since October of 2020, he has been the target of trumped up, politically motivated charges related to protest during the George Floyd uprising. Follow the #FreeAnt  Linktree,   Twitter,  and  Instagram.  Make donations to freeantphl on  Cashapp or PayPal.

freeant-flyer.jpg

We want to close this out by commemorating former political prisoner and long-time friend and comrade of Philly ABC, Chuck Africa. After nearly 42 years in prison, on February 7th, 2020, Chuck was the last of the surviving Move 9 to be paroled. His cancer had already reached stage 4 by this time, but Chuck remained strong and optimistic.

Chuck spoke at  last year’s Running Down The Walls,  to which he called on the movement to take immediate action in supporting his imprisoned comrades Joseph Bowen and Steven Northington, and a list of women serving life without parole (or sentenced to death by incarceration).

chuck-africa-rdtw-2020-1.jpg

It was Chuck’s first and only public speaking engagement since his release. He was excited to attend the event again this year, and possibly speak again, but his health declined too rapidly in the month prior.

Around 3:00am on Monday September 20th, Chuck joined the ancestors after his four year battle with cancer that clearly worsened through incarceration. His family and close friends know him as a bold and selfless warrior, always standing up and fighting for everyone else before himself. He will forever be remembered as someone who loved with all his might, and we will keep fighting in his honor. #RestInPower comrade.

Until all are free,
Philly ABC

Anti-Prison Protest Raises Ruckus At Philly Youth Jail

from Unicorn Riot

On the evening of Thursday, September 9, several dozen anarchists gathered in West Philly for a noise demonstration to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1971 Attica prison uprising. After marching in the street for several blocks, the unannounced protest arrived at the Philadelphia Juvenile Justice Services Center, a youth detention center on North 48th St that opened amidst protests in 2012.

Protesters lit road flares, set off fireworks, pointed lasers and banged pots and pans to create a ruckus that served as a form of primitive communication with the youth prisoners locked inside the child jail.

A firework is launched towards the Philadelphia Juvenile Justice Services Center

Several of the youth could be seen waving and/or banging on the frosted windows of their cells, in an apparent gesture of appreciation for the noise and bright lights visiting them from the parking lot.

 

Youth locked up in the Philadelphia Juvenile Justice Services Center bang on their windows as the noise demonstration takes place outside.

After about 20 minutes, two Philadelphia Police cruisers arrived and the protesters quickly dispersed without incident.

Graffiti left in the Philadelphia Juvenile Justice Services Center parking lot

Before the protest ended, a member of the crowd read a statement reflecting on the anniversary of the Attica prison rebellion, written by Alejandro ‘Capo’ Rodriguez-Ortiz, one of the ‘Vaughn 17’ prisoner defendants prosecuted after the historic ‘Vaughn Uprising’ at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna, Delaware in February 2017:

“50 years ago today, the death of dozens of warriors highlighted an issue that was previously kept in the shadows: The oppression faced by modern day slavery. It also gave us, the prisoners, the knowledge that our power wasn’t relinquished with our freedom. Behind every V17 stands the radiance of those sacrificed in the struggle to be free.

Those comrades showed what’s necessary to bring REAL change. That comes from physically fighting this machine of oppression. Not just simply ASKING for your dignity, BUT TO TAKE IT, by any means necessary.

The issues voiced 50 years ago are the same that we face today. All that proves is that there is only one cure for the malady of this affliction: a total amputation.

In a world where the people can be controlled by the threat of slavery, we’ll never be free. We have to abolish this whole system. No more concessions, they don’t get us any closer to freedom. Just talking will just bring us 50 more years of oppression & slavery.

They can make policy reforms & less oppressive & targeted laws all day. That doesn’t change the fact that there are more people enslaved in this country than the combination of the next three largest countries COMBINED! Our freedom doesn’t come retroactively with these meaningless reforms that are normally either impossible to get applied to our case or only affect a small, selected group.

Every step towards the abolishment of prisons should be attributed to the Brothers of Attica. Without them, a lot of warriors wouldn’t of thought that standing up to such an oppressive force was possible. Their blood helped loosen the foundation of the prison industrial complex. It’s our duty to finish the job, so that their sacrifice wasn’t without purpose.

We live in a different age. One where the people in our communities are now aware of the true purpose of prisons, as plantations. Now is the time to strike. Both the prisoners & our comrades in the world. We have the chance to live without the threat of slavery.

When will we take it?”

– Statement from Alejandro Rodriguez-Ortiz (Capo) on behalf of the Vaughn 17, on the anniversary of the Attica Rebellion

A flyer distributed along the march to the youth jail

“Running Down the Walls” Event Highlights Prisoner Support

from Unicorn Riot

An annual 5K run/walk/roll benefit called “Running Down the Walls” aims to amplify “the voices of our comrades behind bars, lifting them up in their struggles,” and provide material support, according to Philadelphia Anarchist Black Cross, the host of today’s event in South Philly’s FDR Park. After the participants finish their 5Ks, speakers will address the issues facing incarcerated people and the prison industrial complex.

This year’s run is in honor of Mumia Abu-Jamal, a high-profile prisoner for 40 years who suffers from multiple health issues.

[Video Here]

Last year’s Philly RDTW was featured in a short documentary by hate5six:

[Video Here]

he proceeds from the event are split with the Anarchist Black Cross Federation “Warchest Program” which includes incarcerated people like Leonard Peltier, Eric King, and Mutulu Shakur.

Cover image via IGD News.

Attica Uprising Commemoration March

from Twitter

Last night in Philadelphia, anarchists commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Attica prisoner uprising by marching to a youth detention facility where they banged pots and pans, lit road flares and set off fireworks to raise the spirits of the young people held inside:
[Video Here]

Support Kevin Berry of the Vaughn 17!

from Go Fund Me

Vaughn 17 member and politicized prisoner Kevin Berry is finally coming home after being locked down for 14 years. Kev was caught up in the system at an early age and has been in state prison since he was 18 years old. For the past four years, he’s been locked away in solitary in retaliation for standing up against the prison system in Delaware.

Kev is about to officially start his work-release program in Delaware, and we’re asking for help getting him on his feet. When he gets out of prison and starts his work-release job, he’s gonna have nothing — he needs clothes, food, and money as soon as possible. Your donations will literally go towards putting clothes on his back!

Kev has not only survived the so-called “justice system,” he’s also someone who has made significant sacrifices for our collective liberation. You can read his writings as part of the Vaughn 17 movement here and here .

If you would prefer to donate gift certificates or hotel vouchers (so he can save on rent while he’s trying to save up money), please do! You can email them to our riseup account (see below).

This comrade really needs and deserves our support right now. Thank you for showing up and showing your solidarity!

[Donate Here]

This Is America #147: Anti-Frat Action Goes Wild; Daryle Lamont Jenkins on Current Terrain; Philly ABC; Organizing Offline

from It’s Going Down

[This post only contains information relevant to Philadelphia and the surrounding area, to read the entire article follow the above link.]

Welcome, to This is America, September 1st, 2021.

On today’s episode, first we speak with Daryle Lamont Jenkins about his recent travels to New York for an antifascist film festival and Portland for a mass convergence against the Proud Boys. We talk about fighting the far-Right in a post-J6 world, the need to build alternatives to the State, and the growing threat of the anti-vaxx/mask movement. We then talk with someone from Philadelphia Anarchist Black Cross about the history of the group and the importance of upcoming ‘Running Down the Walls’ events.

We then switch to our discussion, where we talk about the need for people to re-hone their organizing skills as posts on social media are often leading to diminishing returns.

  • September 11th – 12th: Running Down the Walls. Events to raise money and awareness for political prisoners. See list here.