Organizing against mass incarceration. I was reading the interview of Ruth Wilson Gilmore, who I never heard of until now. She wrote a book entitled “Golden Gulag,” which analyzes the buildup of the California prison system. She says one huge thing that happened in California is how the Department of Corrections experimented there with ways to keep prisoners from developing solidarity with each other.
It’s made me think a bit deeper about what’s happening here at Great Meadow Correction Facility with the yard phones. There are only 35 of them here, which are claimed by different gangs and cliques. This of course leads to conflict among us prisoners. And now if we get sent to solitary confinement, we get to use tablet phones for two to six hours a day. While in general population, we’re lucky we get on the phone for 15 minutes a day. All of this is a recipe for disaster. It fosters disunity, division, and violence among its prisoners.
The struggle against mass incarceration cannot succeed unless prisoners can develop the capacity to organize ourselves in solidarity and mutual aid to address our oppressive conditions. The lack of telephones here only encourages predatory aggression and individualism where the strong bully the weak instead of standing up for them. This is one of the reasons I’m fighting so hard to promote UFD behind these walls, because UFD cultivates solidarity and mutual aid among prisoners.
This is Dontie Mitchell, better known as Mfalme Sikivu, reporting to you from Great Meadow Corrections Facility in Comstock, New York. Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @freeDontieMitchell. Also, join the Dontie Mitchell support committee Facebook group. If you want to help support my clemency application and the work that I’m doing. Thank you for listening, God bless.