Slavery is alive and well in the prison system. The 13th amendment to the US constitution maintains a legal exception for continued slavery in US prisons. It states “neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States.”
On September 9, a series of coordinated work stoppages and hunger strikes will take place at prisons across the country. Organized by a coalition of prisoner rights, labor, and racial justice groups, the strikes will include prisoners from at least 20 states—making this the largest effort to organize incarcerated people in US history. It will be what the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC) describes as “a call to action against slavery in America.” Incarcerated workers are still workers, regardless of criminal records. Conditions in prison today foreshadow what workers on the outside might face in the future because the oppression inside is merely an amplified version of the oppression faced by poor people everywhere.
On September 9th of 1971 prisoners took over and shut down Attica, New York State’s most notorious prison. On September 9th of 2016, action will begin to shut down prisons all across this country. Not only is the demand the end to prison slavery, bit to cease being slaves.