Alabama
April 18-20, 2014

Following the January action, FAM (Free Alabama Movement) spokespeople attempt to announce statewide strike through media outreach. Pre-emptive transfers and isolation of strike leaders stunts participation.

Salon.com publishes an exclusive interview with Melvin Ray from solitary confinement, and local media also interviews him and his mother Ann Brooks, who spearheads “Mothers and Families” (MAF) as the outside support arm of the movement.

Brooks and others set up and maintain a website, and a blogtalk radio program, where FAM members can communicate with each other and the outside world directly.

FAM hopes the strike will spread beyond the weekend and to more facilities, but Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) effectively stymies the organizing by targeting and preemptively isolating leaders.

The attention gained by the interviews and the accessibility of the leaders elevates the prisoner movement, kicking off Free Mississippi, Free Ohio, Free Virginia and other state-level prisoner’s organizations. They draft a strategy document called “Let the Crops Rot in the Fields” which sets out a path toward nationally-coordinated strikes to come.

The strike and organizing inspires the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) to form the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC) a project devoted to forming industrial union branches in prisons.

Citations:

Exclusive: Inmates to strike in Alabama, declare prison is “running a slave empire”, Salon.com, April 18, 2014

‘We don’t want to be slaves for this system’: Alabama prison inmate describes reasons for protest, AL.com, April 19, 2014

FreeAlabamaMovement.com

Blogtalk Radio

Let the Crops Rot in the Fields

Alabama Prison Work Strike ‘Stalls’ But Wins Support from Wobblies, In These Times, April 25, 2014