The Militant (logo)  

Vol. 81/No. 45      December 4, 2017

(front page)

New Florida prison censorship threatens broader ban on ‘Militant’

In a broader attack on the constitutional rights of the Militant and its subscribers behind bars, authorities at the Jefferson Correctional Institution in Monticello, Florida, impounded the Nov. 6 issue of the Militant on multiple charges, including that the “publication encourages protesting and group disruption.”

Unlike previous impoundments by Florida prison officials — often overturned on appeal by the prison system’s Literature Review Committee — the banning of this issue is not aimed at a specific article, but at a series of material in the issue. Censorship at one prison, according to Florida regulations, is extended to all state prisons there.

“This is a serious escalation by Florida prison officials attacking the Militant’s right to freedom of the press and the right of our readers behind bars,” Militant editor John Studer said after the paper received the notice of rejection Nov. 18. “If not overturned it could lead to authorities attempting to bar the Militant completely from Florida prisons.”

The Jefferson Correctional Institution officials also checked off boxes on the impoundment notice that claim the subject material in the issue “depicts, describes or encourages activities which may lead to the use of physical violence or group disruption” and that it “is dangerously inflammatory in that it advocates or encourages riot, insurrection, disruption of the institution, violation of department or institution rules.”

As justification for all their charges, prison authorities point to “Pg. 1 continued on Page 9, 5, 7.”

The three front-page articles from the Nov. 6 issue that continue on page 9 are, “Protest US Economic War Against Cuban Revolution!” “GIs Come Back From Horrors of Imperialist War to Carnage at Home,” and “Working-Class Solidarity Got Many Out of Harm’s Way in
Calif. Wildfire.”

There are no articles on page 1 that jump to 5 or 7. The articles on page 5 are about the effect on workers of competition between Walmart and Amazon, and about miners on strike to get back wages in Ukraine. Page 7 has two articles, “Brigadistas Learn About Cuba, Organize to Defend Revolution” and “Oscar López: ‘Cuba Gives Us Best Example of Resistance.’”

These pages also feature ads asking readers to consider joining a “Rally and March for silver miners on strike” in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and a “Rally to defend Cuban Revolution at the United Nations” in New York.

“Perhaps prison authorities now plan to bar any issue that publicizes public events,” Studer said. “That would be virtually every issue of the Militant.”

The Florida Department of Prisons also impounded the Oct. 30 issue, citing the article “Florida Prison Officials Step Up Censorship Against ‘Militant.’”

The Militant has won broad support for its fight against censorship. Among those who have written letters in the last year to urge prison authorities to reverse censorship of the paper are the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, the New York Civil Liberties Union, PEN America, the National Lawyers Guild, Amnesty International USA, Riverside Church Prison Ministry and American Friends Service Committee.
Related articles:
Join fight against prison censorship!
Frame-up trial of Bundy ranchers begins in Nevada
‘Everything we’re charged with, gov’t is doing to us’  
Front page (for this issue) | Home | Text-version home