Hey, uh, this is comrade Pitt, Peter Kamau Mukuria, calling you from Red Onion State Prison. Um, so this piece right here, this commentary is regarding the, uh, uh, the IWW/IWOC, um, and, uh, it’s titled, “The significance was taking direct action.”
I begin a quote, “Theory without practice is useless,” by Fred Hampton. Um, so direct action is one of the main Industrial Workers of the World and Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee strategy in effectively challenging and addressing issues which affect workers on the outside and especially incarcerated workers.
The logic of direct action is relatively simple. If our needs aren’t met, which they are, and we collectively challenge them, then there’s not much that can stop us, because ultimately the power comes from us, the people. Taking direct action and addressing our needs is essential in any revolutionary organization whose historic mission is to do away with capitalism and abolish oppressive structures.
Direct actions such as general strikes, boycotts, and sabotages were often employed when IWW was formed in 1905. And these acts proved auspicious in expediting change for workers. Since its founding, IWW has always been an organization for all workers across racial lines on the globe. This term “working-class” means that those are not the employing or owning class, which conspicuously include prisoner workers, the homeless, the unemployed and underemployed.
The goal of the organization is to abolish with and prison slavery. As a branch of the IWW, I work with specifically have paid for the incarcerated workers in prisons, jails migrant detention facilities, and juvenile detention, including those on house arrest, probation, and parole, and anyone impacted by the intrusion of the prison-industrial complex. It serves as a liaison for prisoners to organize, unionize, and build solid bridges between us on the inside and our fellow workers on the outside. So we may be more effective in challenging the conditions and treatment incarcerated workers endure.
IWOC recognizes that incarcerated workers are at the forefront of the movement for liberation, and IWOC exists to empower, aid, and fight with us. Um, outside IWOC members are well-trained and organized and conducting collective direct actions, challenging the conditions of confinement incarcerated workers face. While we recognize the oppressive and inhumane conditions prisoners are subject to, it tends to be strategically and deliberately kept out of public awareness.
The solidarity built between inside and outside workers serves critical and exposing the savagery over imprisonment. I have been a member of IWW since 2015, same year I also joined the Revolutionary Communal Black Panther Party, then also known as the New Afrikan Black Panther Party, and when DC IWOC was formed, given my existing membership with IWW, I began coordinating with DC IWOC.
Therefore, as a fellow IWW member but foremost Panther whose duty it is to speak truth to power in service of our struggle to overthrow this capitalism imperialist system and abolish every structure, I have been able to coordinate with DC IWOC on numerous instances in which their involvement in direct action and advocating for not merely myself but a myriad of other prisoners was the catalyst needed to push back againsts injustices, um, inside these human warehouses.
Furthermore, and even more imperative, DC IWOC has been critical in amplifying our struggle. Over the years, as DC IWOC has grown in membership, thus extending its ability to do more, their strategy and tactical support of prisoners extended towards college or program, which the members who came to meet outside of a local jail wait for those being released and offer them bags containing essential items, such as toothbrush, toothpaste, water bottles, snacks, food, or fruits, etcetera.
They also issue shoelaces which are confiscated from people as they enter these jails. And in the winter, they also hand out blankets and offer transportation to anyone being released who may need it. Oftentimes when people are released from jail and/or prison, They have nothing more than the clothes on their backs.
Therefore to embrace such generosity and giving- and giving things one need, it relieves a lot of the distress associated with being in prison. Um, I have the fortunate- I have been fortunate to be able to call and converse with each individual comrade, and we always conclude by simultaneously yelling out: “All power to the people.”
You’re not only energizing everyone out there, but to some degree, I’m always hopeful that those incarcerated in the jail could hear us and know that they are loved, cared about, and we extend our solidarity with them, because their struggle is our struggle. And like Mumia Abu-Jamal says, “No one is free until everyone is free.”
Additionally, DC IWOC has been able to effectively reach incarcerated workers through our newsletters and letter-writing meetings. As we continuously expand our efforts through taking direct action, we hope to inspire and grow a global movement to abolish capitalism and every oppressive structure. All power to the people.
This is comrade Pitt with the IWOC Standing Committee and the Minister of Labor for Revolutionary Communal Black Panther Party, uh, I am also with the DC Baltimore IWOC, and I can be reached at Peter Kamau Mukuria 1197165, Red Onion State Prison, PO Box 1900, Pound Virginia, Instagram at @pittpanther_art. All power to the people, comrade.
These commentaries are recorded by Prison Radio.