Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Montreal's Week Against Prisons, August 7-12

Because if you're Black, you are three times more likely to end up in a federal penitentiary.

Because if you're Indigenous, you are nine times more likely to end up in a federal penitentiary.

Because these racist disparities are getting worse, not better.

Because immigrants face deportation after being punished for a criminal conviction, effectively being punished twice, once when they're sentenced criminally, and then again by being permanently removed from Canada -- often after living here since childhood.

Because over the past ten years the number of women in federal custody has increased by 40% - in some institutions women are being forced to sleep in visiting rooms due to the fact that there are not enough cells for everyone locked up.

Because under Harper the prison budget has almost doubled, with the government building new prisons and expanding old ones, preparing to lock up even more people as part of its agenda of repression.

Because at the same time as more people are spending time in prison, more prisoners are spending time in solitary confinement. More prisoners are also being double- or even triple-bunked, in general population as well as in segregation.

Because locking people up make communities less safe.

Because from the G20 to the Quebec student strike, prison is increasingly being used as a threat against people who stand up to resist the global austerity agenda.

Because prisoners are brutalized and killed, and the coroner's office simply covers this up.

Because we can't tell you how many people died in custody in 2011, because the government's figures are incomplete and misleading, and their statistics lie.

Because prisons are an inherent part of the state and capitalism.

Because prison is not part of the solution, it is part of the problem.


Prisoners' Justice Day began to commemorate the death of Eddie Nalon, who bled to death in the segregation unit of Millhaven prison on August 10, 1974.

On the first anniversary of Eddie's death, prisoners at Millhaven refused to work, went on a one-day hunger strike and held a memorial service, even though doing so was guaranteed a stint in solitary confinement.

On May 21, 1976, another prisoner, Robert Landers, died in the segregation unit at Millhaven. That year on August 10, thousands of prisoners across Canada participated in a one-day hunger strike, while Prison Justice Day Committees were formed in Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia to organize community events.

August 10, 2012, marks the 37th Prisoners Justice Day. On this day, prisoners across Canada and around the world will fast and refuse to work, while outside friends, family members, and supporters will hold events in solidarity with people inside, to call attention to the terrible conditions in prisons, as well as in other carceral spaces like immigration detention and psychiatric facilities.

In Montreal, join us for a week of activities, as our different movements and communities come together to remember the fallen and to stand in solidarity with the ongoing struggles of prisoners here and around the world.


Tuesday, August 7
Film Screening and Facilitated Discussion about Girls and Women in Prison
2110 Centre for Gender Advocacy (1500 de Maisonneuve Ouest, Suite #404)
7:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.
Film Screening of award-winning film "Stranger Inside (2001)" (w/French subtitles) and documentary "Unlocking the Gates (2012)" followed by a facilitated discussion led by the Life After Life Collective; a 2110 action group dedicated to the de-carceration and de-criminalization of girls, women and transgendered people.  The first film is about incarcerated queer women of colour in a US prison while the documentary focuses on Aboriginal women's struggle with the revolving door in Canada. Both are presented as part of the 2110 Centre's annual "Summer Night" Film Screenings. French whisper translation will be available during the discussion.

Wednesday August 8th
Inside/Out: Celebrating the Life and Work of Marilyn Buck
Casa del popolo, 4873 boul. St-Laurent
facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/394752210574434/
in english
Marilyn Buck was an anti-imperialist, a feminist, an artist and a revolutionary, who spent almost half of her life in prison as a result of her participation in revolutionary armed movements in the united states. Amongst other things, she was convicted of helping to break Assata Shakur out of prison. While incarcerated she developed uterine cancer; she was released on July 15, 2010, and died a couple of weeks later, on August 3. Join us now for a celebration of Marilyn's life, and a book launch for Inside/Out, a recently published collection of her poems, with readings by local Montreal activists, and brief talks about Marilyn, about political prisoners, and resistance.

Friday August 10th
Vigil, Testimonies, Audio Documentaries, and Commemoration in memory of those who died in custody
1701 Parthenais street, outside the Coroner's office
Every year people die in prison, murdered by a system that refuses them adequate care, puts them in situations of abuse, subjects them to violence, is designed to rob them of their humanity. August 10 is a day in which we remember those who have died on the inside, and demand an end to the travesty that is the prison system. Join us for a vigil in front of the offices of the coroner, whose job it is to cover up deaths on the inside.

Friday August 10th
Presentation by Kim Pate
Café Touski, 2361 rue Ontario Est (metro Frontenac)
in english with whisper translation into french
Kim Pate is a criminologist. She has more than 30 years experience working with incarcerated women, and is particularly interested in the conditions of First Nations women. We have asked her to give a presentation about how the policies being put in place by the Harper government will impact the prison system, and especially how they will impact women. We want to better prepare ourselves to resist and fight back.

Friday August 10th
Presentations about the prison system at the Maison Norman Bethune
1918 rue Frontenac
in french
As part of the Week Against Prisons, the Maison Norman Bethune is giving three short presentations which explore certain questions raised by the reality of prisons in contemporary capitalist society: the role of prisons in capitalist society; prison as a site of political organizing; and the situation of women in prison.

Saturday August 11th
Solidarity in a Culture of Criminalization: Transformative Justice in the Community
2110 Centre for Gender Advocacy (1500 de Maisonneuve Ouest, Suite #404)
facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/364754366931379/
Transformative Justice 101, followed with facilitated discussion on how to respond to several challenging hypothetical scenarios without turning to the police and a creative response session.

Sunday August 12th
Street Festival - Freedom for All Political Prisoners
Square Phillips, corner of St. Catherine and Union
Metro McGill
facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/213247592138441/
Join us for an afternoon of food, theater, and music in solidarity with political prisoner struggles around the world!

For more updates and more information, check out: http://contrelesprisons.blogspot.ca/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/260168030761950/
or email: montrealcontreprisons@gmail.com/

POSTERS/FLIERS: http://contrelesprisons.blogspot.ca/2012/07/affiches-tracts-posters-fliers.html

Friday, August 03, 2012

Celebrating the Life and Work of Marilyn Buck

Two years ago today, Marilyn Buck died of cancer in New York City; after decades behind bars, she had been released from prison barely a few weeks earlier.

As comrade Judy Greenspan wrote at the time:

Marilyn died today not in the hospital but at Soffiyah Elijah’s house, her close friend and attorney with her friends around her. The federal bureau of prisons and the U.S. Criminal injustice system killed Marilyn by denying her adequate medical care, careful diagnoses, and timely treatment for her cancer. They allowed the uterine cancer to spread until it was inoperable. And they made her serve every single day of her sentence that they could for her 'heinous crimes' of actively supporting the Black Liberation struggle, aiding in the escape of comrade Assata Shakur, participating in military political actions against U.S. Wars at home and abroad and remaining defiant and opposed to the U.S. Imperialist racist system every day that she was inside the belly of the beast. Marilyn Buck, Presente!

Marilyn was an anti-imperialist, a feminist, an artist and a revolutionary, who spent almost half of her life in prison as a result of her participation in revolutionary armed movements in the united states.

Amongst other things, Marilyn was suspected of helping to break Assata Shakur out of prison, and was convicted of participating in and planning attacks on the United States Capitol building, the National War College at Fort McNair, the Washington Navy Yard Computer Center, the Washington Navy Yard Officers Club, the Staten Island Federal Building, the Israeli Aircraft Industries Building, the South African consulate, and the offices of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association.

Here in Montreal, as part of the Week Against Prisons, some of us have organized a celebration of Marilyn's life and work, this Wednesday, August 8, at Casa del Popolo (4873 Boulevard Saint-Laurent), from 6pm to 8pm. We will be launching Inside/Out, a recently published collection of Marilyn's poems, with readings by local Montreal activists, and brief talks about Marilyn, about political prisoners, women in prison, and resistance worldwide.

The event is free of charge; the readings and presentations will be in English.

We hope that you can join us this Wednesday; we would also appreciate it if you could forward this email to let other people know about this event!

To learn more about Marilyn, see http://www.kersplebedeb.com/mystuff/profiles/buck.html

This event is a part of Montreal`s Week Against Prisons, August 7-12; for more information, see http://contrelesprisons.blogspot.ca/

If you can't make it, but would still like to get a copy of Inside/Out, the book is available from leftwingbooks.net at https://secure.leftwingbooks.net/index.php?l=product_detail&p=1076