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Vol. 80/No. 48      December 26, 2016


Greetings to workers behind bars

New Year’s greetings from the Militant to fellow workers behind bars! Washington is the world’s biggest jailer, with more than 2.2 million people locked up and nearly 5 million on probation or parole.

The U.S. rulers use prison to send a message to working people — whatever the individual circumstances that put them behind prison walls: Stay in your place! Don’t speak up! Be obedient!

Their prisons are one part of the barbaric criminal “justice” system — plea-bargaining that eviscerates the right to a trial, mass incarceration, disproportionately coming down on those who are Black, Hispanic and Native American, and widespread solitary confinement.

And nearly 6 million people were denied the right to vote in 2016 because of a felony conviction.

The campaigns to free Puerto Rican independentista Oscar López, in jail for more than 35 years, and Native American activist Leonard Peltier, incarcerated more than 40 years, are picking up steam. These fights boost efforts to free others who are in jail on frame-up charges or serving disproportionately long sentences because of their political views. Join these fights.

This year we have seen two Oregon ranchers, Dwight and Steven Hammond, sent to jail a second time on the same frame-up charges of arson.

We have seen Jalil Muntaqim and other former Black Panthers turned down for parole.

Join the fight to overturn Attica’s ban on Muntaqim getting his subscription to the Militant!

But our brothers and sisters behind prison walls have not been silent. Mumia Abu-Jamal, a radio journalist and former Black Panther railroaded to jail in Pennsylvania in 1982, has been fighting for hepatitis C treatment for himself and thousands of other prisoners who are denied essential medical care.

Women facing deportation have carried out hunger strikes protesting the conditions faced by thousands held in U.S. immigration jails.

Prisoners in California and their supporters have protested sleep deprivation torture and pushed back that state’s brutal use of solitary confinement.

This year the Militant celebrated the release of Albert Woodfox, the last of the Angola 3 political prisoners in Louisiana. He spent more than four decades in solitary confinement. We saluted the life of Mondo we Langa, who died in the Nebraska State Penitentiary in March, and backed the ongoing fight to free fellow former Panther Ed Poindexter.

Many revolutionary leaders have served time in the rulers’ jails. The response of millions of workers and youth in Cuba following the death of Fidel Castro — pledging to defend and advance the revolution he led — was an inspiring tribute to the man who was imprisoned for leading the 1953 attack on the Moncada barracks that announced the coming revolution.

We stand with brother and sister workers behind prison walls fighting for dignity, respect and democratic rights. The Militant is proud to offer complimentary or reduced-price subscriptions to prisoners.
Related articles:
Protests in Washington: ‘Free Leonard Peltier!’
Victory in Standing Rock boosts Peltier fight
Support grows for fight to reverse censorship of ‘Militant’ at Attica
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