In this post:
- A message about repression against strike organizers
- An update from Comrade Malik Washington in Texas
- Specific calls for support for Malik and others!
Deja vu all over again
As organizers across the country prepare for a prison strike kicking off August 21, we are unsurprised to be seeing a coordinated campaign of repression against prominent figures associated with the 2016 nationwide prison strike.
Imam Siddique Abdullah Hasan, a key figure in the 2016 strike who was thrown into solitary in September 2016 on the basis of clearly false accusations, has just been thrown into solitary confinement again, and Ohio IWOC are organizing to support him.
Kevin “Rashid” Johnson, a leader of the New Afrikan Black Panther Party Prison Chapter (NABPP-PC) and member of the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC), whose organizing was discussed in DHS/FBI fusion center “terrorism threat assessment” publications as far back as 2009, is being kept in solitary confinement after being given an “inciting a riot” charge for writing an article about the Operation PUSH strikes in Florida, and has faced punitive transfer after transfer.
Keith “Malik” Washington, who is incarcerated in Texas and is also a member of the NABPP-PC and IWOC, has spent the past two years in solitary confinement on a bogus riot charge connected to his organizing and publicizing the 2016 prison strike. He was due to be released from solitary in June, but had his clearance abruptly revoked and was sent back to solitary on the grounds that the classifications committee had “received additional information” from the Fusion Center in Texas leading them to believe "it was not in the best interest of the department to release him back into general population."
In other words, prison officials are terrified of what non-violent non-cooperation on a mass scale could mean for their regime of dehumanization and control.
Malik has also had issues with medical information about his health issues mysteriously disappearing. The administration has intentionally put him in dangerous situations, and he is currently being held in an extremely hot punishment cell that he describes as being like “a living hell” and causing headaches, nosebleeds and dizziness.
Meanwhile, Jason Renard Walker, another Texas inmate involved with the NABPP and the 2016 strikes, and a contributor to the Fire Inside zine, has managed to get released from solitary, but faces constant threats and harassment from staff, including threats to send him back to solitary on bogus charges for things as simple as asking for water, medical attention, and access to his own cell.
Both Malik and Jason have reported having their mail tampered with, and the explicitly political nature of this censorship was made clear in a conversation with a prison official who told Jason that any writing containing the words “black panther” would be treated as gang material.
Supporting the prison strike means monitoring and opposing the repressive methods that the prison system uses to try and break it, and paying attention to the treatment of 2016 strike organizers like Rashid, Malik, Jason and others can indicate the tactics that are likely to be used more widely in the weeks to come.
Update from Comrade Malik (7/18/18)
Revolutionary Greetings Comrades!
I know that many of you have been very concerned about my health and the conditions inside this gulag at the McConnell Unit. Please allow me to provide you with a very thorough update.
Today, I finally saw the medical provider here at the McConnell Ad-Seg Unit. I saw a physician's assistant named Ms. Corbett, a very professional and competent humyn being. Ms. Corbett admitted that there was a lapse in communication between Darrington Unit, where I had a seizure on June 24th 2018, and McConnell. Without your phone calls and emails, I may never have been seen!
Ms. Corbett increased my dosage of Dilantin to 400mg per day, and added another anti-seizure medication. She also ordered some lab tests. My liver enzymes were high in April 2018. We are making sure I don't have Hepatitis-C. I don't think I have Hep-C. Ms. Corbett restored my heat restrictions! She wondered why they had been discontinued? A lot of weird stuff has been happening lately.
I have exhibited symptoms that I may have had a minor stroke. I've been scheduled to see a neurologist soon. I'm experiencing some weakness on the left side of my body. Of course, this is what TDCJ was hoping for, and why I've been pleading for legal help. The Senior Warden, Philip Sifuentes, actually has cooler cells to move me into, but he refuses to do so! I may be moved to a 1-Row cell on this section, but I can tell you that the HVAC system is broken on this section.
Warden Sifuentes is a professional liar. He is telling the public that the “ambient” temperature here in ad-seg at McConnell is maintained at 74 degrees Fahrenheit. Not so on F-Pod! Hell no! Sifuentes is also saying we have a Tempered Air System – all of this is well rehearsed. He knows he is misinforming the media and the public at large. In order to expose him, we must demand that the Texas Legislature allow a non-biased independent third party to test the air temperature and humidity inside the cells between 6pm and 9pm.
Not many prisoners can articulate the true conditions we face in these cement slab death traps! The air-holes in our front doors are covered with plexi-glass, the HVAC system has been shut down down to a barely operable level! What this has done is create an extremely hot and humid environment. Even if they move me, I will not abandon this fight. These conditions are the worst I've ever experienced as far as extreme heat go!
In addition to being unbearably hot, F-Pod is where McConnell houses the “worst of the worst”! In other words, it is a punitive housing area. And most of us here are black men! Coincidence? Hell no!
I've been experiencing headaches, nosebleeds, and dizzyness! My back wall faces the setting sun. Between 5pm and 5am, life is a living hell here! I stand before you today to say that I am a prison abolitionist – I'm also a humyn being, and I need your help!
In solidarity and love,
What we can do:
Flood the system with messages of support - Malik has specifically requested a call-in campaign urging Texas legislators to investigate the conditions at the McConnell Unit. Follow this link and scroll down to see a list of Texas legislators and TDCJ officials, along with a call script for this campaign!
Finding legal representation and fundraising - Malik urgently needs professional legal help in challenging the various forms of harassment he has been subjected to, particularly the interference with his mail. If you know of any sympathetic lawyers or other legal-minded folk who might be able to help, please contact them and ask if they could take the case on.
Malik has also asked for help covering costs – specifically, $100 for medical co-pay, $550 for legal fees related to his ongoing cases, and another $100 for stamps and stationery to help him connected to the outside world. A fundraiser to cover these costs should hopefully be coming soon, but in the meantime you can send him some cash via jpay.com, or contact Austin ABC at firstname.lastname@example.org to forward donations if you don't have a jpay account.
- Write to the comrades! - Every letter they receive lifts their spirit and protects them, because it lets prison officials know they have people around them, watching for what happens to them. Follow this link and scroll down to see addresses for everyone mentioned in this post.