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Vol. 76/No. 1      January 2, 2012

Greetings to workers behind bars
(editorial, feature article)

The Militant sends New Year’s greetings to the 2.5 million fellow workers behind bars in the United States. In addition to those held in federal and state prisons, as well as local jails and juvenile facilities, we recognize those kept behind bars by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, immigration jails, military lockup, U.S. territorial prisons, and in Guantánamo, Cuba.

The unparalleled numbers in U.S. prisons, in their great majority working-class, and the increasing brutality they confront on a daily basis is endemic to the rule of capital and its deepening crisis worldwide. From lockouts to lockdowns, the propertied rulers are pressing in myriad ways to foist this crisis on our backs.

In many prisons around the country, government austerity measures targeting workers have meant the elimination of meals and other “expendable amenities.”

Prison is organized to dehumanize and degrade. We hail those who have risen up against these conditions, in particular the hunger strikers in the Security Housing Units of California. These battles have forged unity among Black, Latino and Caucasian prisoners, countering an entire framework that is designed to divide and conquer. It stands as an important and inspiring example for all working people.

We salute Gerardo Hernández, Antonio Guerrero, Ramón Labañino, René González and Fernando González, five Cuban exemplary working-class revolutionaries framed up and imprisoned by the U.S. government.

We extend solidarity to other political prisoners, from Native American activist Leonard Peltier to Lynne Stewart, who offered her legal services to many facing government attack, from Puerto Rican independence militant Oscar Lopez Rivera to Mumia Abu-Jamal. We celebrate the overturning of the death sentence against Abu-Jamal and join in the continuing fight to win his freedom.

We joined the growing protests that fought against the execution of Troy Davis and give greetings to the many other Troy Davises subjected to the barbarity of the rulers’ murderous weapon of terror against our class, which they fight to maintain despite widespread abhorrence.

From the California hunger strikes, to the exposure of police torture and frame-ups in Chicago, to demonstrations for voting rights in Florida: these battles for basic rights and dignities behind bars and for those caught up in the so-called “criminal justice” system have won gains over the last 12 months, providing inspiration for 2012.

The Militant is proud to offer complimentary or reduced-rate subscriptions to prisoners. And we appreciate letters from prisoners on their struggles and political thoughts. Contribute to the Militant Prisoners’ Fund so we can continue this working-class tradition.
Related articles:
Bourgeois ‘diversity,’ imprisonment: 2 sides of coin
Phila. DA drops death penalty against Mumia Abu-Jamal
Martina Davis-Correia: fighter against death sentence  
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