The US prison operation relies heavily on the work of the prisoners themselves, while many prisons have now been privatized. Also, prison labor is being exploited by multinational companies (Honda, McDonald’s, Victoria’s Secret, Starbucks, etc.). Payment that prisoner-workers receive for their labor varies from minimal to nonexistent. Furthermore, surveillance, inhumane conditions of detention, discipline, various methods of torture, etc., are traditionally the first choices for the smooth operation of these prisons.
Prisoners in the US, experiencing and realizing their exploitation, have taken part in many different mobilizations over the years, often linking their struggle to the oppression of women and juveniles who are in other prisons, and with migrants in the many immigration detention centers throughout the US.
Since September 9th, prisoners across the country, knowing that the prison facilities cannot function without them, have started abstaining from work in order to put an “end to prison slavery.”
Sweatshop labor in US prisons is a link in the long chain of modern slavery. A chain that starts by modern slaves (“invisible” migrants), child labor, forced prostitution, and reaches to the conditions of modern “formal” paid employment (unemployed, precarious, black-market workers, uninsured, resilient, temps, etc.). These areas of slavery are important building blocks of capitalism. The armies of modern slaves are producing enormous amounts of surplus value for capital, which is a prerequisite to its expansion. And the capitalist “underworld” of US prisons is an invisible but massive piece of this capitalist puzzle. It is no coincidence that the institutionalization of imprisonment, which was founded beside the ashes of burned “witches” of the Inquisition, to discipline body and spirit, coincides with the beginning of the capitalist mode of production…
Right now, female detainees in Koridallos prison have launched protests (since August 26th 2016) denouncing overcrowding and demanding humane living conditions and full medical care and nutritional support for HIV-positive prisoners. We can only stand in solidarity with the struggle for dignity waged by prisoners anywhere on Earth, considering that resistance to the barbarity of incarceration is an integral part of social and class struggles taking place everywhere.
AGAINST THE RESTRUCTURING, TIGHTENING OF SECURITY, AND PRIVATIZATION OF PRISONS
THE ROAD TO FREEDOM PASSES OVER THE DEBRIS OF EVERY PRISON
September 9th 2016
Free social space in Agrinio