Slagting by Attica -gevangenis

Slagting by Attica -gevangenis


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Die opstand van vier dae by die Attica Correctional Facility met maksimum veiligheid naby Buffalo, New York, eindig wanneer honderde staatspolisiebeamptes die kompleks in 'n haelgeweer storm. Nege en dertig mense is dood in die rampspoedige aanranding, waaronder 29 gevangenes en 10 tronkbewaarders en werknemers wat sedert die begin van die beproewing gyselaar gehou is.

Op 9 September het gevangenes oproer en beheer oor die oorvol staatsgevangenis oorgeneem. Een tronkbewaarder is noodlottig geslaan. Later die dag het die staatspolisie die grootste deel van die gevangenis teruggeneem, maar 1 281 gevangenes het 'n oefenveld met die naam D Yard beset, waar hulle 39 dae lank tronkbewaarders en werknemers gyselaar gehou het. Nadat onderhandelinge tot stilstand gekom het, het die goewerneur van New York, Nelson A. Rockefeller, die staatspolisie beveel om met geweld die beheer oor die gevangenis te herwin.

Op die reënerige Maandagoggend van 13 September is 'n ultimatum aan die gevangenes voorgelees waarin hulle gevra word om oor te gee. Hulle het gereageer deur messe teen die gyselaars se kele te plaas. Om 09:46 vlieg helikopters oor die erf en laat traangas val terwyl die staatspolisie en regeringsbeamptes met gewere aanstorm. Die polisie het 3 000 rondtes in die traangas -waas afgevuur en 29 gevangenes en 10 van die gyselaars doodgemaak en 89 gewond. Die meeste is in die aanvanklike, sonder onderskeidelike skietery geskiet, maar ander gevangenes is doodgeskiet nadat hulle oorgegee het.

Na die bloedige klopjag het die owerhede gesê dat die gevangenes die gedood gyselaars doodgemaak het deur hul kele te sny. Na bewering is een gyselaar gekastreer. Lykskouings het egter getoon dat hierdie aanklagte vals was en dat al tien gyselaars deur die polisie doodgeskiet is. Die poging tot toesmeer het die openbare veroordeling van die klopjag verhoog en 'n ondersoek van die kongres veroorsaak.

Die oproer in Attika was die ergste gevangenisoproer in die Amerikaanse geskiedenis. Altesaam 43 mense is dood - tronkbewaarder William Quinn, die 39 wat tydens die aanval dood is, en drie gevangenes wat vroeg in die oproer deur ander gevangenes vermoor is. In die week na die afhandeling daarvan het die polisie brutale vergeldings teen die gevangenes gedoen en hulle gedwing om onder meer marteling 'n handskoen met nagstokkies te hardloop en naak oor gebreekte glas te kruip. Die talle beseerde gevangenes het, indien enige, substandaard mediese behandeling ontvang.

In Januarie 2000 het die staat New York 'n 26-jarige groepsgeding deur die Attika-gevangenes teen gevangenis en staatsamptenare besleg. Vir hul lyding tydens die aanval en die daaropvolgende weke het die voormalige en huidige gevangenes $ 8 miljoen aanvaar.


Muhammad Ali gedig oor die slagting van die gevangenis in Attika

Die wêreldbekende bokser Muhammad Ali lees 'n gedig wat hy geskryf het vir die Afro-Amerikaanse slagoffers van die slagting in die Attika-gevangenis in 1971.

World Bulletin / News Desk

Die wêreldbekende bokskampioen Muhammad Ali verskyn in 'n onderhoud wat op televisie in Ierland uitgesaai is, waarin hy 'n gedig voorlê wat hy geskryf het oor die onluste in Attika in 1971.

Die onluste wat 42 jaar gelede plaasgevind het, het gelei tot die dood van 39 mense, waaronder sommige tronkbewaarders. Dit het alles op 9 September 1971 begin toe 'n swart gevangene vermoor is terwyl hy probeer het om uit die gevangenis te ontsnap. In die daaropvolgende vier dae het tot 2200 swart gevangenes in opstand gekom teen die tronkbewaarders en 42 van hulle gyselaar geneem.

Nelson Rockerfeller, die destydse goewerneur, het geweier om met die gevangenes se eise vir beter behandeling en toestande te onderhandel. Soldate het op 13 September op die gevangenis toegesak, traangas laat val en daarna twee minute sonder ophou in die rook geskiet. 29 gevangenes is op slag dood. 9 tronkbewaarders is ook op daardie dag doodgemaak, sommige met keelplekke, wat daarop dui dat die gevangenes hul gyselaars doodgemaak het as weerwraak vir die aanval. 1 gyselaar is later dood aan 'n skietwond.

Nadat hy die gedig gelees het, het Muhammad Ali die stryd van die Afro-Amerikaners vir vryheid en geregtigheid in verband gebring met die stryd van die Iere teen die Britse imperialisme. Die afskrif van die gedig kan soos volg gelees word

Beter ver en mdash van alles wat ek sien en mdash
Om dood te gaan veg om vry te wees
Wat 'n meer gepaste einde kan wees?

Beter seker as in 'n bed
Waarheen ek in gebroke gesondheid gelei is
Bly totdat ek dood is

Beter as met gebede en smekinge
Of in die greep van een of ander siekte
Gemors stadig deur grade

Beter as 'n hartaanval
of 'n dosis medisyne wat ek kort
Laat my sterf deur swart te wees

Beter ver dat ek moet gaan
Staan hier teen die vyand
Is die soeter dood om te weet

Beter as die bleddie vlek
op 'n snelweg waar ek gelê het
Deur vlieënde glas en ruit geskeur

Dit is beter om die dood te roep
as om nog 'n dom te sterf,
gedempte slagoffer in die krotbuurt

Beter as van hierdie gevangenisvrot
as daar 'n keuse is, het ek 'n keuse
Maak my hier ter plaatse dood

Beter vir my stryd om te wen
Nou terwyl my bloed van woede kook
Dit is minder koel met die ou tyd

Beter gewelddadig dat ons sterf
Dan na oom Tom en probeer
Maak vrede net om 'n leuen te leef

Beter noudat ek my kalmeer sê
Ek sal sterf en die waarheid eis
Terwyl ek nog steeds verwant is aan die jeug

Nou beter as later
Nou is die vrees vir die dood weg
Let op nog 'n dagbreek.


27 September 1971

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CSU -argief/Everett Collection Polisiebeamptes identifiseer lyke in die Attica -gevangenis, 1971.

Opmerking van die redakteur: Hierdie artikel verskyn die eerste keer in die uitgawe van 27 September 1971 Die Nasie.

Een van die veroordeelde in die maksimum sekuriteits- en korrektiewe fasiliteit in Attica, NY, het die advertensie aangetrek ad hoc komitee van waarnemers wat binne die tronkmure vergader is: "Ons wil nie heers dat ons net wil lewe nie, maar as een van u here honde besit, behandel u hulle beter as wat ons hier behandel word." Op die basiese feit is daar algemene ooreenkoms. Slegs twaalf dae voor die opstand het die kommissaris van die staat, Russell G. Oswald, 'n bandopnameboodskap gestuur aan die 2 000 gevangenes waarin die stappe uiteengesit is om die toestande byna draaglik te maak. 'Wat ek vra, is tyd,' het hy aan die gevangenes gesê, maar die tyd het op hom uitgeloop. Ongeveer die helfte van die gevangenes het opgestaan ​​in 'n opstand wat, volgens verstandige versiendheid, 'n voorbode van nog erger is. Hulle het geen vuurwapens gehad nie. Die aanvalsmag, wat ook ongeveer 1 000 tel, was swaar gewapen. Toe hulle hulle gedoen het. werk, nege en dertig mans was dood en nege gyselaars uit die agt en dertig wat die gevangenes in beslag geneem het, en dertig gevangenes.

Sou hierdie bloedige uitkoms vermy kon word? 'N Mens kan net vermoed, maar die konsensus onder verligte waarnemers is dat dit kan. Burgemeester Kenneth A. Gibson van New-ark noem die onderdrukking van die kwetsendste en blatantste onderdrukkende dade wat ooit deur 'n vermeende beskaafde samelewing op sy eie mense uitgevoer is. ondersoek wat gebeur het. Dit moet bestaan ​​uit 'n aantal top mense in die korrektiewe veld. & Quot In kommissaris Oswald het hy 'n topman gehad, wat met die gevangenes onderhandel het en skynbaar 'n goeie indruk op die komitee van waarnemers gemaak het. Maar die goewerneur het geweier om na Attika te kom, alhoewel sy blote teenwoordigheid in die stad niemand verwag het dat hy binne die gevangenismure sou gaan nie, het dinge moontlik genoeg afgekoel om 'n ooreenkoms te bereik. En omdat hy niks van die omstandighede geweet het nie, het president Nixon sy steun uitgespreek teen die harde lyn van Rockefeller.

Daar was ongetwyfeld 'n kranksinnige rand onder die gevangenes en diegene wat geëis het dat hulle vrygelaat moet word aan 'n 'nie-imperialistiese mag', maar die groot meerderheid van diegene wat aan die opstand deelgeneem het, was rasionele mans. Sommige was rasioneel in die sin dat hulle net beter lewensomstandighede en die respek wat hulle as mense toekom, wou hê. Ander was in 'n revolusionêre sin rasioneel: hulle was gereed om te sterf eerder as om hulle aan die samelewing se behandeling te onderwerp. Hulle het gesterf, en hulle het gewen. Die beeld van Amerika word verder aangetas voor die wêreld en, soos senator Muskie gesê het, 'die Attika -tragedie is 'n meer duidelike bewys dat iets in Amerika verkeerd is.' taktiek van militante, & quot en dat die ondersoek die rol sou insluit wat & buitekant magte sou speel. & quot Wat ook al magte van buite betref, kon nie duisend man tot so 'n wanhoop laat beweeg het nie.

Die Attika -slagting was in een aspek 'n oorwinning van die & quottough & quot -skool van penoloë en die reaksionêre elemente in die Amerikaanse samelewing oor die moderniste. Oswald het nooit die ondersteuning van die Attika -personeel of die inwoners van die stad gehad nie, waarvan die meeste uit die gevangenis bestaan. Hulle bevoordeel die voormalige kommissaris, wat deur die geledere gekom het en bekend was vir sy taaiheid. Dit was die reaksionêre elemente wat 'n verslag versprei het dat die nege gyselaars hul keel laat sny het deur die gevangenes, en dat een gekastreer is. Hierdie leuen is vasgespyker deur dr John F. Edland, die mediese ondersoeker van die land, wat 'n indrukwekkende verskyning op TV gemaak het. Hy het agt van die lyke ondersoek en gevind dat almal dood is aan skietwonde. 'N Ander mediese ondersoeker het tot dieselfde gevolgtrekking gekom met betrekking tot die negende slagoffer. Dit lyk asof die opstandelinge verantwoordelik was vir slegs een dood en dat 'n wag wat uit 'n venster gegooi is en wat gesterf het voordat die geveg in die gevangenis begin het.

Kanards van hierdie wrede soort dui gewoonlik op ongeregverdigde optrede deur die bewaarders van wet en orde. By Kent State het die sluipskutter -vuur na bewering die wagte gedwing om op die studente te vuur. Die bevelvoerende generaal het teruggeval op hierdie verskoning en daaraan vasgehou lank nadat dit weerlê is.

'N Honderdduisend Amerikaners is gevangenes van Amerikaanse gevangenisse. Op Attika was 85 persent negers of Puerto Ricaners, onder toesig van wagte wat, soos een op TV geskreeu, haat & quotniggers. & Quot Die samelewing sluit hulle op om van hulle ontslae te raak. Selfs geskei soos deur opsluiting in talle staats- en federale boetes, vorm dit moreel en selfs fisies 'n formidabele krag. Om terug te keer na die evaluering van senator Muskie: die opstand toon dat ons die punt bereik het dat mans eerder sou sterf as om nog 'n dag in Amerika te lewe. ' van al die mense. & quot

Om nie na sulke woorde te luister nie, is nie net onmenslik nie, maar ook dom. Die waarnemers wat deur die opstandelike gevangenes in die gevangenis genooi is (sien die uiters opwindende boodskappe van Tom Wicker vir die New York Times van 14 en 15 September) was beïndruk deur die taktiese vaardigheid, die sterkte en die eensgesindheid van die uitdagende mans. Hierdie gevangenes is gepolitiseer en gebruik die term hier nie in die eerste plek met betrekking tot die ideologiese oortuigings wat hulle mag gehad het nie, maar in die sin dat hulle bewus was van hulself as 'n aansienlike groep wat gemeenskaplike ervarings en doelwitte deel. Die opstand in Attika lyk baie min na onluste in die tronk van die verlede, toe mans wat skielik op hul tralies skielik begin klop het, hul kos na die vloer van die gemorsgang gooi en onwelvoeglikhede na hul tronkbewaarders skree. Dit was groepsaksie, nie massahisterie nie. Dit is die nuutste, maar nie in alle waarskynlikheid, die laaste, manifestasie in 'n boete van, wat gebrek aan 'n beter term vandag swart nasionalisme genoem word. Maar Attika was nie 'n rassistiese beweging nie, swartes en Puerto Ricans was oorheersend in die verset, soos hulle in die gevangenis oorheers, maar baie blankes het saamgestaan. Dit was 'n klasaksie en die klas van die onterfdes.

As mans wat niks het nie, ontdek dat hulle mekaar het, kombineer hulle in eenhede wat onberekenbaar formidabel is. Daarom moet ag geslaan word op die woorde van gesonde en deernisvolle mans. Amerikaanse tronke was nog nooit 'n instelling nie, dit was nog altyd 'n houer. Maar gevangenes is nie rommel nie. Dit is erg genoeg, dit is waarskynlik goddeloos dat ons hulle hul vryheid ontneem, maar as ons van nou af ook die hoop op 'n toekoms van hulle neem, kan ons verwag dat Attica die naam sal word vir 'n nuwe soort oorlog . Kommissaris Oswald het geweet dat Rockefeller en Nixon ongetwyfeld in die uitsparings van die geskiedenis sal verdwyn voordat hulle die eerste gyselaar in beslag neem.


Na die Attika -opstand

9 September 2011

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Op die oggend van 9 September 1971 het Attica Correctional Facility, die grootste en veiligste gevangenis in die staat New York, in 'n vlam van weerstand en woede opgegaan. Net meer as die helfte van die mans wat daar opgesluit was-meer as 1200 mense-het agt-en-dertig gevangenisbewaarders as gyselaars geneem in 'n eis om hul basiese menseregte. Teen die tyd dat hulle opstand op 13 September tot 'n einde gekom het, was drie-en-veertig mans, gevangenes en wagte, dood. Nege-en-dertig van die dood is op bevel van goewerneur Nelson Rockefeller geskiet.

Om die rebelle van die gevangenes in Attika veertig jaar gelede ten volle te begryp, moet u eers die kompleksiteit van 1971, wat Dickensonian was, verstaan: dit was die beste tye, dit was die ergste tye. Ons was 'n nasie van hoop, met die moontlikheid van revolusionêre verandering binne ons bereik. Eerwaarde Jesse Jackson se Operation PUSH is daardie jaar gebore. Dertien demokrate, met verbeelding wat net so deur hul eie drome gevorm is as die Black Power and Civil Rights Movements, het die Congressional Black Caucus gestig. Breë dele van die Amerikaanse burgerlike bevoegdheid voel genoeg om op te staan ​​teen onregverdige regeringsbeleid. 60 persent van die kiesers was teen die Viëtnam -oorlog. Sam Cooke se "A Change Is Gonna Come" was meer as 'n pragtige liedjie. Dit was die klankbaan wat die gees van 'n beweging gevoed het. Dit was die beste van 1971: sy onbepaalde hoop.

Verwante artikel

Die Attika -gevangenisopstand: veertig jaar later

Maar vir diegene wat die ergste van daardie jaar geken het, onthou hulle gebeure wat met die brutaliteit van 'n reeksmoordenaar afgespeel het. Gruwel was 'n aanhoudende ding. Kort nadat die regering sy wapens in 1970 op sy eie kinders gewerp het, vier doodgemaak het en 'n ander student aan die Kent State University permanent verlam het weens die misdaad om vreedsaam te protesteer teen die Amerikaanse inval in Kambodja, sou 1971 geboorte gee aan wat baie nou na verwys as "Swart Augustus. ”

Op 21 Augustus is George Jackson, gevangene, skrywer en veldmaarskalk vir die Black Panther Party, in die San Quentin -gevangenis in Kalifornië doodgeskiet omdat hy na bewering probeer het om sy vonnis van een jaar tot lewenslank te ontsnap omdat hy 'n vulstasie van sewentig dollar beroof het. Jackson se deurslaggewende werk, Soledad broer, 'n versameling gevangenisbriewe wat die jaar tevore gepubliseer is, het hom stewig in die harte van mense oor die hele wêreld geplant, maar met geen groep meer as die Amerikaanse gevangenes nie. Die amptelike verklaring vir die moord op hom - dat hy 'n geweer in sy afro versteek het - is summier verwerp deur baie, veral swart gevangenes wat dit as 'n teregstelling beskou het.

Die volgende dag, by Attica, was die reaksie op Jackson se dood 'n stil gebed en vas. Agthonderd mans-Afro-Amerikaners, Latino's en blankes-arriveer vir die eerste skof by die gemorsaal, almal swart geklee iewers op hul klere en sit in stilte en weier om te eet. Die personeel het geweet iets is aan die broei. Jackson se dood het opstande in ander gevangenisse veroorsaak. Maar Attica, met sy vestingagtige konstruksie, was vir 'n arrogante administrasie immuun teen sulke onrus.

Dit moes nie. 'N Maand tevore het 'n groep gevangenes, bekend as die Attica Liberation Faction, 'n petisie ingedien by die korreksiekommissaris van die staat, Russell Oswald, wat eis dat die "brutale, ontmenslike" omstandighede in die gevangenis beëindig word. Die belangrikste onder hul lys van sewe-en-twintig klagtes was die gruwelike oorbevolking van Attika, wat ontwerp is vir 1600 mans wat ten minste 600 mense te veel gehad het. Gevangenes het een stort per week en slegs een rol toiletpapier per maand. In Attika was brutaliteit en mishandeling 'n vanselfsprekendheid, net soos die gewone gebruik van eensame opsluiting-andersins bekend as 'die gat'-waar mans vier-en-twintig uur per dag in strookselle opgesluit was, waar hulle kaal sou slaap op 'n betonvloer. Toilette was 'n gat in die vloer. Dit is as 'n dissiplinêre maatreël geregverdig, maar gevangenes self was dikwels die doelwitte van aanvalle op ras gebaseer deur lede van die geheel-wit personeel wat toesig gehou het oor 'n bevolking wat meer as 60 persent Swart en Latino was.

Maar rassisme en brutale omstandighede aan die binnekant was slegs 'n deel van die verhaal. Aan die buitekant, net twee maande tevore, het president Richard Nixon die oorlog teen dwelms verklaar, wat 'n gekodeerde, maar omskrywende boodskap oor misdaad uitstuur en wie 'n misdadiger is. Nixon, wat ons nou weet, het geglo dat as u oor die kwale van die samelewing kom, u die feit moet onder oë neem dat die hele probleem werklik die swartes is. Die sleutel is om 'n stelsel op te stel wat dit herken terwyl dit nie lyk nie. " As die vyand 'alles wat beweeg het' in Viëtnam was vir diegene wat hierdie nuwe oorlog moes voer, was die vyand nou iemand agter die muur.

Attica Correctional Facility is 'n uitgestrekte kompleks wat vier afsonderlike werwe bevat, van letter A tot D. Dit kom bymekaar op 'n punt waarna verwys word as 'Times Square'. Die oggend van 8 September 1971 was daar 'n geringe geskarrel in A Yard. In opdrag van superintendent Vincent Mancusi is die twee betrokke mans, Ray Lamorie en Leroy Dewer, later die aand met geweld uit hul selle gesleep om na die gat geneem te word.

'Hierdie ouens is deur die sale geslaan', onthou 'n voormalige gevangene met die naam Albert Victory. 'Dit is hoe dit gedoen is. Mans kon dit net nie meer uithou nie. ” Een woedende gevangene gooi 'n sopblik na 'n wag, en word as straf na sy sel oorgedra - 'locklock'. Die volgende oggend, danksy 'n sorgelose fout deur 'n junior offisier, kon gevangenes hom bevry sodat hy kon gaan ontbyt. Mancusi het uitgevind en nog 'n straf beveel, maar toe die wagte dit probeer uitvoer, draai die gevangenes hulle om. Die opstand het begin. 'N Menigte gevangenes het die hekke wat na Times Square gelei het, afgebreek en die gange na die res van die gevangenis oopgemaak. In die proses is 'n wag met die naam William Quinn ernstig beseer.

In die herinnering van Victory het dit 'soos 'n veldbrand versprei'.

Eers was daar 'n gevoel van euforie. Die gevangenes kom bymekaar en organiseer hulself in komitees. Swart Moslems is gekies om 'n veiligheidsomgewing rondom die gyselaars op te stel-hul waardevolste onderhandelingsinstrumente-om seker te maak dat hulle veilig gehou word. Hulle het 'n lys vereistes opgestel. Hulle wou meer besoeke met hul geliefdes hê. Hulle wou godsdiensvryheid en voedsel hê wat aan hul godsdienstige oortuigings voldoen. Hulle wou toegang hê tot opvoedkundige geleenthede wat hulle sou help as hulle uitklim.

"Wat die gevangenes gesê het, het geldigheid," sê Michael Smith, wat self as gyselaar in D Yard geneem is. Smith was 'n nuwe regeringsbeampte, slegs 22 jaar oud, en het weke gelede 'n soortgelyke lys eise gesien toe lede van die Attica Liberation Faction hulle opgestel het om aan kommissaris Oswald te gee. Volgens Smith se beskrywing, "was dit humanitêre eise vir godsdiensvryheid, mediese sorg en opvoeding."

Maar in die kern van alles, onthou 'n ander Attika -gevangene met die naam Arthur "Bobby" Harrison, "was dat ons siek was om ontmenslik te word. Ons wou as mense gesien word. ” Harrison het die dag by Victory en al die ander mans in D Yard aangesluit. Hulle was ook vasbeslote om aan te toon dat hulle meer menslik kan wees as hul wagte.

'Ons het die gewondes vir behandeling uitgestuur', onthou Victory. Onder hulle was William Quinn. 'Ons het 'n beroep op waarnemers van buite gedoen om in te kom en te hoor wat ons sê. Ons wou ons storie vertel. ”

Die gevangenisadministrasie het weinig anders as om daaraan te voldoen. Onder die waarnemers wat hulle op versoek van die gevangenes na Attika gebring het, was joernaliste, prokureurs en selfs Bobby Seale van die Black Panther Party, wat gehelp het om 'n onderhandelde skikking te bewerkstellig. In teorie het Oswald ingestem tot die meeste van hul eise. Maar daar was min om sy beloftes bindend te maak, veral aangesien vorige versoeke geïgnoreer is. En nog belangriker, die gevangenes wou ook 'n belofte van amnestie hê, gegewe al die moontlike aanklagte rondom die rebellie self. Dit sou 'n deurslaggewende punt wees: die owerhede het dit al te veel gevra, en toe Quinn op 11 September aan sy wonde beswyk, was sy dood die einde van die onderhandelinge. Vir die gevangenes het die kwessie van amnestie selfs dringender geword: New York was immers 'n doodstraf. Maar die staat kan nie as kapitulasie beskou word nie. Die appèlle deur die waarnemers om Nelson Rockefeller na Attika te bring om geweld te vermy, het misluk.

'Dit reën die oggend van 13 September', onthou Bobby Harrison oor die telefoon op 'n ander reëndag veertig jaar later, langs die graf van sy ma. 'Elke keer as dit reën, is ek daar.' Helikopters gons nou oorhoofs. Staatstroepe en wagte van Attika en ander gevangenisse was op dakke geplaas met allerhande vuurkragte: masjiengewere, grootwapengewere, haelgewere. In 'n laaste poging om die staat te dwing om te onderhandel, het gevangenes agt geblinddoek gyselaars langs die loopplank bo die werf opgeruk en gedreig om hul kele te sny. Michael Smith was onder hulle en in 'n vreeslike ironie was Don Noble, 'n gevangene wat hom beskerm het tydens die aanvanklike oorname, sy aangewese beul. Maar voordat Noble keuses oor lewe of dood sou moes maak, het die helikopters houers bo die erf laat val. Traangas deurdring die lug en verblind die gevangenes daaronder. Toe, sonder waarskuwing, begin die skietery, die koeëls is so onoordeelkundig soos die uitbreidende gifwolk.

Dit het ongeveer sewe minute geduur. 'Mans word uitgesoek,' sê Bobby Harrison en sy stem styg. 'N Vriend van Harrison met die naam L.D. Barkley, wat die stemme van die leiers baie hard uitgespreek het (en wat in Attica was weens 'n geringe parooloortreding op 'n vorige aanklag van die verval van 'n tjek), is vyftien keer op 'n blitsige afstand geskiet. Smith en Noble is verskeie kere geskiet, maar het oorleef.

Uiteindelik sterf tien wagte en nege-en-twintig gevangenes op die oggend van 13 September 1971. (Nog vier mense sterf onder onsekere omstandighede in die loop van die vorige dae.) Vroeë berigte gee die gevangenes die skuld aan die gevangenes en sê dat hulle die wagte se kele afgesny. Maar elke lykskouing sou bepaal dat al die slagoffers vir 'n man dood is deur 'n vuurwapen wat deur die staat New York beveel is.

Na die aanval is gevangenes gedwing om met modder en ontlasting na onder te lê. Hulle kruip van D Yard na A Yard, waar hulle kaal uitgetrek word en gedwing word om deur 'n skut wagte te gaan wat hulle slaan met alles wat hulle het. Binne die selblokke het wagte die vloer met stukkende bottels besaai. Gevangenes het geloop - as hulle kon en indien nie, moes hulle bo -op die glas kruip en in die 6 x 9 selle ingedruk word.

Albert Victory onthou dat hy saam met tien ander mans in 'n sel was. "Vir die meeste van ons was ons skietwonde aanvanklik onbehandeld," sê Victory. 'Sommige van ons is met vragmotors na die hospitaal geneem met die lyke van die dooies. Maar slegs die ernstigste beseerdes. ... Ek het net twee skietwonde gehad. Ons is na die gevangenishospitaal gestuur. Toe ek na die gevangenishospitaal gaan, is ek die hele pad daar geslaan. Die hele pad terug geslaan. ”

By Attica het die lewe weer normaal geword.

Vanuit die perspektief van hedendaagse gevangenisbestuurders is die verhaal van Attica 'n verleentheid primitief, met sy beelde van gewere, traangas uit die Vietnam-era en die ooglopend bloedige hande van die staat. Veertig jaar later het Amerika blykbaar uit die opstand geleer, nie 'n les oor menseregte nie, maar 'n Orwelliaanse les. Die gevangenisse is vandag vol met tegnieke vir hoëtegnologie, dwaasbestuur, gekomplimenteer deur PR-vaardighede om die boodskap te beheer. Die gevangenisse van vandag is ontwerp om te verseker dat die sentrale besorgdheid van die Attika -broers om as mense gesien, gehoor en behandel te word, nie so effektief as geneutraliseer word nie.

Gevangenes het nie net uit die buitewêreld verdwyn nie; hul vermoë om met mekaar te kommunikeer word ook gereeld onderdruk om te voorkom dat toekomstige Atticas weer voorkom. Hierdie feit maak moderne gevangenisbetogings, waarvan 'n aantal die afgelope jaar alleen plaasgevind het, des te meer merkwaardig.

Verlede Desember het die grootste gevangenisstaking in die Amerikaanse geskiedenis plaasgevind, in ten minste ses gevangenisse in Georgië. Dit het begin as 'n werksonderbreking van een dag-gevangenes wou nie hul selle verlaat nie-maar het tot 'n week gestrek. Die protesaksie, gekoördineer via smokkelfone, was deels oor die weiering van Georgië om gevangenes vir hul werk te betaal. Maar dit het 'n kookpunt bereik as gevolg van die daaglikse angs van geweld, isolasie, gebrek aan opleiding, onvoldoende mediese sorg en onvoldoende gesinsbesoeke. Toe 'n 20-jarige man in die Hays State-gevangenis in Trion opgesluit was, het Georgia aan 'n verslaggewer gesê New York Times, per selfoon gekontak, "Ons het ons toegesluit omdat ... ons nie as diere behandel kan word nie."

Toe, hierdie somer, het gevangenes in die veilige wooneenhede - eensame opsluiting - in die Pelican Bay -gevangenis in Kalifornië ook 'n protesoptog gehou met die enigste hulp wat hulle gehad het: 'n hongerstaking om te protesteer, onder talle ander menseregteskendings, die wrede beleid van onbepaalde tyd eensame opsluiting. Van 1 Julie tot 20 Julie het hulle geweier om te eet of te drink. Uiteindelik het hulle weer begin eet omdat Dorsey Nunn, uitvoerende direkteur van regsdienste vir gevangenes met kinders, as een van hul advokate verduidelik het: "mense het 'n groot gevaar om te sterf." Maar daar is berigte dat hulle hierdie maand weer 'n hongerstaking sal begin.

Baie van die eise vandag is ontstellend soortgelyk aan wat die mans by Attica gevra het. Maar daar is 'n verskil tussen Attika en hierdie protesaksies. Waar veertig jaar gelede burgerregte-leiers en joernaliste op versoek van gevangenes opgedaag het om te dokumenteer wat gebeur het, het geen vlagdraers hierdie somer of die gevangenes in Georgië bygestaan ​​nie. "Ons het Cornel West, Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson en Tavis Smiley gekontak," verduidelik Nunn. 'Maar die gevangenisbevolking is so gedemoniseer dat ondersteuning nou as 'n politieke aanspreeklikheid beskou word.

Die opstand in Attika was die ergste wat hierdie land nog ooit gesien het. Die gebruik van troepe teen die lede van die bevolking, buite bloedbad teen inheemse mense, was die bloedigste sedert die burgeroorlog. Die komitee wat ondersoek het, bekend as die McKay -kommissie, was diep kritiek op die bestuur van Rockefeller oor die situasie en die voormalige goewerneur, wat as vise -president sou gaan, sou uiteindelik erken dat hy nie weer die gebruik van geweld sou aanbeveel nie . Na dekades is gevangenes en wagte wat daardie dae in September in Attika was, deur die federale en staatsowerhede vergoed.

Dit was nie geregtigheid nie. Die regte lesse is ook nie geleer nie. Om terug te keer na die aantal mense wat in 1971 opgesluit was, sou ongeveer vier uit vyf mense wat vandag in die gevangenis is, vrygelaat moet word. Die eise wat uit Pelican Bay en Georgia kom, kon deur die Attica Liberation Faction geskryf word.

Maar Eddie Ellis, 'n radiojoernalis, advokaat vir hervorming van gevangenes en voormalige Attika -gevangene wat tydens die opstand in een van die beveiligde gebiede van die gevangenis toegesluit was, sê dat die bloedvergieting by Attica iets belangrik gedoen het. 'Attika het blootgestel wat aan mense gedoen word, en dit het ook gewys wat mans in 'n paar dae kon doen as ons saamwerk.' Die geskiedenis sal ons op een of ander manier dien. Die keuse, soos dit altyd was, is aan ons.

asha bandele asha bandele is 'n bekroonde skrywer en joernalis wie se mees onlangse boek is Iets soos pragtig: 'n Enkelmoeder se verhaal (Harper Collins, 2009).


Attika State Gevangenis

Met die bewustheid van die burgerregtebeweging van die 60's, Malcolm X, The Black Panther Party, ens., Het Black and Latino Prisoners van 1970 begin om rebellies teen hul behandeling binne die gevangenisstelsel te organiseer. Soos met enige inligting wat deur die "druiwestok" van die swart gemeenskap deurgegee is, het die opstand van die gevangenis na die gevangenis versprei totdat dit Donderdagoggend van 9 September 1971 tot 'n hoogte gekom het. , ontstaan ​​daar 'n geveg tussen die gevangenes en die wagte. Namate die geveg toeneem, het meer gevangenes aangesluit totdat hulle 'n hek oopgemaak het wat met 'n ander deel van die instelling verbind is, en om 'n lang verhaal kort te maak, is gevangenes binne die instansie losgelaat.

Die broers het die tronk toegesluit, met 'n gat geskop en name geneem. Ek bedoel (maak keel skoon), om personeellede as gyselaars te neem en hul eie stelsel van orde binne die gevangenis toe te pas. Hulle het leiers aangestel om die orde te handhaaf en om seker te maak dat die personeel behoorlik versorg is. Beter mediese behandeling en minder slawe -arbeid. Maar hulle 'vryheid' sou nie lank duur nie. Toe 'n gyselaar wat aan die begin van die geveg in die kop geslaan is, aan sy beserings beswyk het, was die gevangenes verantwoordelik vir die misdaadregering. Die misdaad was die oproer en die moord was die dood van die wag.

Gevangenes van die Attica State Prison (regs) onderhandel met kommissaris Russell Oswald (links onder) in die gevangenis waar gevangenes beheer oorgeneem het

Kort daarna vlieg 'n helikopter van die National Guard laag oor die erf en blaas 'n wolk CS-gas van militêre graad in die skare mans. Soos aan advokaat Jefferey Haas gesê, onder die naam Big Black, onthou een van die oorlewende gevangenes van die tyd:

'Eers kom die traangas. Mense soek iets om hul gesig te bedek. Toe ek die eerste keer die skote hoor, het ek gedink dit is spasies. Dan begin die mense om my in die tuin val. Ek het besef dat dit regte koeëls is, en almal het gespring en gehardloop. ” (16 September 1971, Prisoner of The Attica Correctional Facility, New York, soos aan Jeffrey Haas gesê).

Die geweerskote waarna Big Black verwys, is die skutters wat ingekom het en begin skiet het, 189 van die 1300 mans in die erf getref en 31 mense - 29 gevangenes en tien gyselaars - doodgemaak het. (Daar is 'n konflik tussen die getalle. Sommige bronne sê dat 31 gevangenes dood is en 39. Ek gebruik 31 omdat dit in ooreenstemming is met die nuusartikels van destyds).

Na die skietery het die slae gekom:

Bron: Getty Images. Gevangenes wat naak marsjeer.

“Die wagte het ons kaal uitgetrek ná die skietery. Hulle het ons kaal in die modder laat kruip deur 'n handskoen waar hulle ons geslaan het. " - Groot swart

Daarna is Big Black (groot, donker vel en deel van die sekuriteit) as 'n voorbeeld gemartel. Hulle het sy liggaam met sigarette gebrand:

'Hulle het my uit die ry gehaal. Hulle het my kaal op my rug op 'n tafel laat lê en 'n voetbal onder my ken gesit. Hulle sit hul brandende sigarette op my neer. Sommige het hulle van die loopplank hierbo laat val en gelag. ”

“Afterwards, a news photographer found and recorded a pair of inscriptions, in separate hands, written with a white marker on a dark steel wall that succinctly told the story of the Attica rebellion. The top one said, “Attica fell 9-9-71 – F*&k you pig!” Just underneath that was written, “Retaken 9-13-71. 31 Dead Niggers.”

– Dennis Cummingham, Prison Legal News

Riot: Prison guard hostages and inmates gather in the exercise yard of cell block D inside Attica State Prison in New York on September 9, 1971

While seeking freedom the men had forgotten one thing: slavery is abolished except as punishment for a crime. They were given slave-like treatment because as prisoners under the law, they were still slaves.


Learning from the Slaughter in Attica

Prisons are the bad conscience of the liberal imagination, a truth that tends to be most obvious to their most interested observers. Once, I got a letter from a death-row inmate in Texas, complaining that, in writing about incarceration, I had been insufficiently attentive to the French historian and theorist Michel Foucault. My correspondent seemed intimately familiar with Foucault’s argument that prisons are where the liberal state’s claim to superior humanity is at its most vulnerable. The eighteenth century’s pretensions to Enlightenment ended at the Tyburn scaffold, where wretches were publicly hanged for stealing a purse. The twentieth century’s pretensions to humanity end in mass incarceration and solitary confinement, where men are kept alive for years and subjected to procedural niceties while the state waits for the morning when it can paralyze and poison them. No “social contract” or “natural rights”: nothing but power relations, brutally enforced. We’re told that it is the sleep of reason that begets monsters, but what if reason, wide awake, is monstrous already?

Perhaps at some uneasy, half-conscious level, this sense that our moral self-definition is at stake when we talk about prisons explains why the riot at the Attica Correctional Facility, in upstate New York, in September, 1971, remains imprinted in public memory. Having previously inspired a Morgan Freeman movie, it has now inspired a long, memorable chronicle, “Blood in the Water” (Pantheon), by Heather Ann Thompson, a historian at the University of Michigan. Her book is dense with new information: much from survivors of the assault much from assembled firsthand testimony, some of the most startling from recently released Nixon White House tapes. Though her sympathies are entirely with the prisoners, she extends humanity and individual witness to the guards, who were also, in their way, victims of the uprising and its suppression. And she extends the story past the killings: more than half the book is taken up with the exhausting but ultimately successful struggle, on the part of guards and inmates both, for compensation from the judicial system for their suffering.

As with so many academic historians, Thompson’s capacity for close observation and her honesty, which are impressive, are occasionally undermined by a desiccated political vocabulary that bears little relation to the reality of American life, then or now. Fifty years on, the glamour of sixties revolutionaries remains, while the messes they made seem forgotten. The Weather Underground, one of whose members, Sam Melville, was a leader in the Attica uprising and then died there, were not simply part of a “revolutionary organization committed to fighting racism and imperialism,” as she writes they were violent, self-infatuated fools, who, as Hendrik Hertzberg wrote when they were at their height, in 1970, offered only “a huge, unearned windfall for the forces of repression.” Nor were the Black Panthers, whose co-founder, Bobby Seale, made a brief, insipid intervention at Attica, quite the virtuous militants her account suggests. Malevolently and homicidally persecuted though they were by the F.B.I., the Panthers had become, under Huey Newton, mindlessly cruel and misogynistic gangsters, capable of acts of torture and murder that still haunt the memory of those who witnessed them.

What happened at Attica in September, 1971? A series of accidents in a creakingly worn-out prison turned a modest petition for decency into a full-fledged takeover—one as surprising to the inmates as to anyone else—that, after four days, ended in a reprisal riot by guards and state police that left thirty-nine people dead. Attica was a hellhole. The largest industry in a forsaken and impoverished upstate town, it was a place where urban blacks were locked up in bathroom-size cells to be guarded by rural whites. Although Attica was a high-security prison, predating the great incarceration crisis of the next decades, the population was the usual mixture of small-time thieves and mid-level drug dealers, mixed in with a handful of violent offenders and some imports from earlier prison riots.

It wasn’t that conditions in the Depression-era prison were, by prison standards, uniquely horrible. It was that they were systematically horrible procedures designed to instill a minimal humanity had been allowed to degrade in ways that made every day a trial. The medical care, for instance, was so bad that the civilian staff of one of the cell blocks tried to take action against the indifference of the long-term doctors, one of whom was responsible for a prisoner’s death. These employees “debated a couple of options, including picketing the doctor’s private practice,” Thompson writes. As in any prison, the conditions often depended on the individual character of the keepers. Many of the younger correctional officers were broadly sympathetic to the prisoners’ plight. The twenty-two-year-old Mike Smith, for instance, was shocked by the practice of strip-searching the convicts. “He was fairly certain that he would have considered suicide had he been forced to undergo this ritual,” Thompson tells us. In July of the fatal year, a prisoner named Don Noble led a group that, with Smith’s active approval, drew up a petition of protest, whose “demands” were, for the most part, piteously simple and human—changes like providing showers in hot weather.

Then, on the morning of September 9th, a company of prisoners, being led back to their cells, sleepless and uneasy over a rumor that a prisoner had been killed by guards the night before, found themselves locked in one of the tunnels that connected their cell block to “Times Square,” the bleak central yard. Attica’s security depended on an aging, easily overwhelmed set of mechanical locks and levers, of a kind that one sees in Alcatraz movies. Thinking they had been deliberately trapped in the crowded tunnel so that the guards—the “goon squad”—would be free to retaliate against some of their number, the prisoners quickly found that the gate keeping them out of the yard could be broken with a homemade battering ram. It was an act propelled more by panic than by premeditation. Within minutes, a chain reaction of improvised insurrections and parallel mishaps—the antiquated phones made it impossible for the overwhelmed guards to make more than one call at a time other inmates came into possession of a set of master keys to the other cell blocks—allowed about twelve hundred inmates to take possession of Times Square and the D cell block and yard. The prisoners armed themselves with knives and clubs and, within an hour, were in control of the prison in which they had been confined in fear the night before.

What’s striking about the uprising is not the collisions of intractable ideological positions but, rather, the sheer confusion, missed opportunities, personal squabbles, and absurd procedural wrangles that governed it. The saddest irony is that the New York State Commissioner of Corrections, Russell Oswald, though later treated as one of the villains of the episode, was largely responsible for extending the occupation and allowing the prisoners the media megaphone that makes their voices still heard today. Oswald is a kind of caricature of the sixties liberal who infuriated conservatives (and often other liberals), someone so determined to do good that he can’t see past his own folly. He was a committed prison reformer—shortly after accepting the job, he had written a memo to Governor Rockefeller saying that having men locked “twelve or more hours a day in their cells is unacceptable to them and me.” And yet he managed, in four days, to enrage the inmates, exasperate his colleagues, and, probably, prevent the forces of order from taking back the prison when it still could have been done in a more or less orderly way. Since any imaginable modern state in any imaginable circumstance was always going to feel duty-bound to retake a prison after a mutiny, a forcible reconquest needed to be done either quickly or not at all: had it happened the next morning, when state troopers stood ready and the prisoners hadn’t yet dug in, it might have been much less violent. Trying to placate everyone, he only exacerbated everything.

Still, Oswald emerges as a genuinely tragic figure, a man of good will and integrity overcome by events. He had, Thompson says, rejected proposals to launch an assault, committing himself instead to talks with prisoners. He arranged for members of the press to come to D Yard and record the negotiations. It is odd to think that, with all the increase in media attention, we are actually far more media resistant now than we were then: no one would let a camera crew inside a yard during a prison hostage-taking today.


The story of the Attica riot that changed American prison conditions

Attica reinforced the notion that inmates needed to be more aggressively contained. (John Shearer/LIFE/Getty)

“W e’re saying that as prisoners it’s a new day,” said Greg Curry, an inmate at Ohio State Penitentiary, in told Die Nasie. “We’re not going to accept this anymore. We’re fighting for our basic human rights.”

Curry was referring to a nationwide prison labor strike planned for this week, but he sounded straight out of Attica. And in fact, the action is slated to begin on Friday, September 9th — the 45th anniversary of the Attica prison uprising. In particular, the prisoners are calling for an end to forced labor, which was a major demand of Attica rebellion.

This week’s action is meant to be nonviolent, but Attica was very different. Though born of long-standing frustrations, it was a spontaneous combustion — and a bloody one. Its legacy is complicated: On the one hand, it gave birth to the modern prisoners’ rights movement, emboldening generations of incarcerated people to assert their civil rights. On the other, if Attica had been successful, there would be little need for such a movement today.

In the years leading up to the riot, recalled former prisoner Joseph “Jazz” Hayden, “Attica was a stark place. You only had an hour a day of recreation and the rest of the time, it was something out of the 1870s.” Poor medical care, overcrowding, forced hard labor, brutality from guards and deplorable living conditions were among the prisoner complaints.

Among the prisoners, Hayden explained, were radicals who represented groups agitating for social change during a moment of intense national unrest, including the Weather Underground and the Black Panthers. “We began to come together,” said Hayden. “When I got there [in 1969], political education classes were being conducted in the yards.”

In summer of 1971, a small group called the Attica Liberation Faction put together a list of demands called the July Manifesto, and sent it to the state prison chief Russell Oswald. Oswald responded only with a videotaped message. By early September, writes Heather Ann Thompson in her new history Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and its Legacy, “Most men at Attica were now at a breaking point. Just about anything might cause this place to explode.”

On September 9th, a group of prisoners found themselves trapped in a tunnel leading to the recreation yard known as Times Square. The day before had been dramatic — one prisoner had been isolated, and another was feared dead. Believing that the trap was intentional and that an attack by guards was imminent, the inmates broke down the door. The chaos sparked a takeover of Times Square, and then the whole prison.

“It was a spontaneous event,” Hayden says. “It came, and all the people in there who were politically conscious and awake and aware of the circumstances they were in, they took control.” Thompson echoes this assessment, saying in an interview with Jakobyn, “It is a riot, I think, in the truest sense of the word, in those first few moments. But… this is where the political organization comes in, because this is the moment that it does become a rebellion.”

Though unplanned, Attica was from nearly the beginning an explicitly politicized conflict. The language spoken by prisoners was the language of revolution. They set to work voting on and adapting their list of demands, which read in part, “We do not know how the present system of brutality and dehumanization and injustice has been allowed to be perpetrated in this day of enlightenment, but we are the living proof of its existence and we cannot allow it to continue.”

The prisoners assembled a core group, which included Black Panthers, Nation of Islam members, a white Weather Underground member, and a member of the politicized Latino group Young Lords. They held prison employees hostage, including guards who were well-liked and sympathetic to the prisoners’ cause. They designated typists, organized security forces, and drafted a list of outside people they wanted to appoint as observers — non-incarcerated notables who they felt might be able to keep them safe by bearing witness.

At first, officials appeared willing to negotiate. But President Nixon and the FBI considered the state authorities’ patience with the prisoners a sign of weakness — a concession to radicalism — and pressured New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller to end the riot without negotiation. On September 13th, New York State Police troopers stormed the prison and killed dozens of people, including hostages and inmates who were not resisting. All told, 43 people died in the Attica prison uprising — ten prison guards and employees, and 33 inmates. 39 were killed by troopers, including nine out of the ten hostages.

T he riot was a watershed moment for prisoners’ rights, sparking a national conversation about the treatment of incarcerated people and the need for reform. It was the most media attention any prisoner struggle had ever received, and it brought the demands of the rioters, as well as details about prison conditions, into living rooms across the nation.

But it also sparked a terrible backlash, which perhaps eclipsed the positive effects of the uprising.

Officials tended only to harden their stance. Wardens’ and correctional officers’ associations banded together to demand harsher penalties for prisoners who challenged authority. Prison leaders across the country announced support for the forceful retaking of Attica. In 'n New York Times op-ed, Vice President Spiro T. Agnew compared prisoners to Nazi troopers.

The uprising reinforced the notion that inmates needed to be more aggressively contained — by ever-evolving means ranging from isolating architecture to riot gear. “The fear that Attica generated among prison administrators and the American public,” writes Adam Gopnik in The New Yorker, “pointed the way to the supermax and permanent solitary, emboldening the most reactionary forces in the government to begin the program of mass incarceration that remains the moral scandal of our country.”

M any prisoners want the same things today that the men at Attica demanded: better access to lawyers, fairer parole hearings, protection from brutality by guards, the application of legal workplace standards, adequate living conditions, improved medical care, an end to punitive segregation, and so on.

But as the prison population has grown, so too have strategies for pressuring prison administrators, from coordinated work stoppages to hunger strikes. That’s why this Friday, 45 years after Attica, America’s prisoners won’t be taking anyone hostage. They’re simply putting the tools down and refusing to cooperate.

The question for the prisoners’ rights movement now is how to apply the right amount of pressure — to make headlines and force change without sparking an overpowering backlash, and without getting anyone killed.


Ons geskiedenis

The story of The Fortune Society begins with a play. In 1966, Fortune founder David Rothenberg read the script for Fortune and Men’s Eyes by playwright John Herbert. Deeply moved by the author’s depiction of his own traumatic prison experience, David endeavored to take the play Off-Broadway, where it premiered the following year. After each show, the cast held a talkback session to engage the audience in the real-world issues reflected on stage. David realized, however, that one play wouldn’t be enough to remedy just how little the public knew about the criminal justice system. There had to be a platform for people who had experienced incarceration firsthand. There had to be a movement, with the voices and perspectives of these individuals at the center. Thus, in 1967, The Fortune Society was born.

David, along with individuals impacted by the criminal justice system, soon began giving talks around the country regarding lived experiences with incarceration. Through educating others, they also advocated for the basic human rights of people impacted by the justice system. The group’s breakthrough moment came when they landed an interview on the David Susskind Show in 1968. After the episode aired, David’s Broadway office received over 200 pleas by individuals with justice involvement seeking help. Fortune’s visibility had grown overnight.

Spurred by this newfound exposure, Fortune quickly expanded its reach beyond public education. Within a few years, the organization began providing direct-services for people with justice involvement, while continuing its advocacy work through the publication of The Fortune News, a monthly newsletter containing articles written primarily by authors with justice histories. The Fortune News became so popular among New York’s incarcerated community that prisons tried banning it. They failed, however: A groundbreaking verdict, Fortune v. McGuinness, ruled that prisons could not deny reading literature to individuals who were incarcerated. To this day, The Fortune News continues to be a valuable resource for individuals with justice involvement and continues to circulate through prisons around the country.

In 1971, the Attica Prison uprising, and the state-led massacre that followed awakened the public and led to an influx of interest in Fortune. During the uprising, David was among 30 observers summoned by the protestors with justice involvement at Attica to help facilitate their negotiations with the State of New York. Though the state was ultimately resolute in using lethal force, David returned home from the tragedy to dozens of newly invigorated volunteers—with more individuals joining. The tragedy at Attica, which resulted in the bloodiest prison massacre in U.S history, sparked a movement that Fortune was primed to play a key part in.

As the criminal justice reform movement gained visibility, the number of people affected by the system substantially increased. In the 1970s, 80s, and 90s, punitive drug laws swelled the United States’ prison population to a staggering two million individuals, making demand for Fortune’s services higher than ever. Responding to the resulting need, Fortune expanded its service programs to serve as a core resource for people coming home from incarceration. These programs include Employment Services, Alternatives to Incarceration (ATI), and the Substance Use Treatment program.

In recent years, Fortune has continued to increase its array of services and programming. In 2002, The Fortune Academy, also known as “The Castle,” opened in West Harlem to provide transitional housing and onsite services to participants facing housing insecurity. Castle Gardens, a permanent housing facility, followed in 2011. Since their openings, Fortune’s two residences have helped hundreds of people readjust to life after incarceration. In 2007, the opening of The David Rothenberg Center for Public Policy provided additional resources to further Fortune’s criminal justice reform efforts.

Now, with 50 years of experience under its belt, The Fortune Society has become one of the nation’s leading reentry service organizations, serving nearly 7,000 individuals annually. It is also a leading advocate in the fight for criminal justice reform and alternatives to incarceration. Fortune’s program models are recognized both nationally and internationally for their quality and innovation, and continues to inspire and transform a multitude of lives.

Fortune grew from an advocacy group to an organization that would also respond directly to the needs of those reentering society.

Our vision is to foster a world where all who are incarcerated or formerly incarcerated will thrive as positive, contributing members of society.

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'Attica! Attica!'

On the morning of September 13, 1971, officials called on the prisoners occupying the yard to surrender they refused, holding knives to their hostages' throats, at which point, according to History, "helicopters flew over the yard, dropping tear gas as state police and correction officers stormed in with guns blazing. The police fired 3,000 rounds into the tear gas haze, killing 29 inmates and 10 of the hostages and wounding 89." Authorities reported that the prisoners had killed their hostages, but "autopsies showed that these charges were false and that all 10 hostages had been shot to death by police. The attempted cover-up increased public condemnation of the raid and prompted a Congressional investigation." In all, 43 people were killed during the uprising, making it the worst prison riot in United States history.

Per Teen Vogue, "no state troopers involved in the massacre were ever indicted, much less convicted of any crimes" while "eight inmates were convicted of crimes related to the riot by the New York state commission." Seven of those inmates were later pardoned by Hugh L. Cary, New York Governor from 1975-1982, and the eighth inmate's sentence was commuted. The New York Times notes that "today, there are Muslim chaplains in most of the state's prisons, inmates can take their high school equivalency tests in Spanish, and access to law libraries is guaranteed. They are also entitled to more regular showers." Despite some improvements, "many of the changes that were promised were never made or have been rolled back."


Massacre at Attica Prison - HISTORY

Workers Vanguard No. 1065

Attica: The Nightmare That Never Ends

On 9 August 2011 George Williams, an inmate at New York&rsquos notorious Attica prison, was beaten so badly by a mob of huge white prison officers that he required surgical implantation of a plate and six pins in one of his broken legs. A shoulder, eye socket and ribs were also broken. The officers&rsquo shirts were so soaked with Williams&rsquo blood they made an inmate burn them, and they got another to mop the dayroom floor and walls that bore testimony to the brutality. The beating was carried out where other prisoners could see, and Williams&rsquo pleas for his life could be heard on other floors. Given the extent of his injuries, the prison infirmary nurse insisted that Williams be taken to an outside hospital, which likely saved his life. Although now released and living back in New Jersey, he is in constant pain and still suffers trauma from the attack.

On March 1, the eve of the scheduled trial of three of the sadistic prison officers, the New York Times published an in-depth exposé by The Marshall Project under the front-page headline, &ldquoA Brutal Beating Wakes Attica&rsquos Ghosts.&rdquo This article shone a bright light on the institutional brutality and racist oppression at Attica. The next morning, the local District Attorney accepted a plea deal of misdemeanor misconduct. The felony charges of gang assault, conspiracy and evidence tampering evaporated. The thugs walked away with their pensions, case closed.

Announcing the plea deal, the D.A. said: &ldquoLet me be clear: This has never been about jail for these officers.&rdquo Ain&rsquot that the truth! Until this case, no New York State prison guard has ever been charged, let alone convicted, of a non-sexual attack on an inmate. The Correctional Officers and Police Benevolent Association hired some of western New York&rsquos top criminal defense lawyers and was confident a jury from the area near the prison would not find against the thugs. The Times article quoted an inmate who had done over 20 years in Attica saying: &ldquoWhat they did? How they jumped that guy? That was normal. It happens all the time.&rdquo For prison officers&mdasha part of the repressive apparatus of the state that keeps the capitalist class in power&mdashracist brutality is not a crime it is their job .

Attica is infamous for the 1971 massacre by state troopers and prison officers who retook the prison from insurgent inmates at the end of a four-day standoff. While the overcrowded prisons and brutal treatment the inmates were protesting sound very similar to the hellish conditions at Attica today, the social context was dramatically different. In 1971, there were intense social and political struggles taking place throughout society, from the &ldquoblack power&rdquo movement to radical protests against U.S. imperialism&rsquos war in Vietnam. The rebellion in Attica reflected these struggles inside the prison walls. Attica inmates were heavily black and Hispanic, and many identified with the Black Panther Party and the Puerto Rican Young Lords. Others were members of the Nation of Islam.

In the early morning of September 9, the prisoners erupted, seizing most of the institution and taking 39 hostages. They proclaimed: &ldquoWE are MEN! We are not beasts and do not intend to be beaten or driven as such. We have set forth demands that will bring closer to reality the demise of these prison institutions that serve no useful purpose to the People of America, but to those who would enslave and exploit the people of America.&rdquo The prisoners went on to demand the minimum wage for their labor, and an end to censorship and restrictions on political activity. They wanted a healthy diet, medical care and an end to segregation and punishment&mdashi.e., some approximation of the minimum standards of life.

For the capitalist ruling class, the Attica rebellion had to be crushed with particular vengeance because the rebels had begun to see their struggle in political terms, including aspirations toward revolution. The inmates demanded amnesty and transfer to a &ldquonon-imperialistic country&rdquo instead they got a death sentence.

Nelson Rockefeller, the liberal Republican governor, prepared the bloodbath. At 9:43 a.m. on September 13, a helicopter dropped CS gas over the yard, and 1,000 troopers and guards moved in for the kill. Prisoners were mowed down as they held their hands over their heads. Twenty-nine inmates and ten hostages were killed and many more injured, but the savagery of Rockefeller&rsquos goons was only just starting. Hundreds of black prisoners were made to strip, lie face down and crawl in the mud. They were lined up and forced to run a gauntlet of crazed, sadistic guards. Such brutality was no surprise. In Uprising: Understanding Attica, Revolution, and the Incarceration State (2011), Clarence Jones wrote that it was known at the time that &ldquoa substantial number of Attica prison guards were also members of the local chapter of the Ku Klux Klan or its equivalent.&rdquo As editor of the black newspaper Amsterdam News , Jones served at the request of the Attica inmates as one of the observers during the rebellion.

In the aftermath, 62 of the Attica Brothers were charged with a total of 1,300 crimes. Many charges were dropped after setbacks to the prosecution in the courts. Even an official report recognized that the police assault was &ldquothe bloodiest one-day encounter between Americans since the Civil War&rdquo except for the massacres of Native Americans in the late 19th century. Nevertheless, the real criminals of Attica&mdashthe racist authorities whose hands dripped with blood&mdashwere never even given a slap on the wrist. Rockefeller went on to serve a brief term as U.S. vice president.

We honor the heroic martyrs of Attica for their courageous stand against overwhelming odds. It is for their fight for justice and against oppression that we want the world&rsquos working people to remember them. Their demands for education and job training stood in stark contrast to the standard procedures of capitalist so-called justice: vindictive punishment designed to reduce the prisoner to a subhuman condition. The prisoners themselves refused to degrade the prison officer hostages as they themselves had been degraded.

Prisons and Racist U.S. Capitalism

We observed at the time of the Attica rebellion that the &ldquodespicable racist guards are despised even by the ruling class that cynically uses them. The governor not only served notice on the prisoners that rebellion does not pay , and rebellion linked with revolutionary ideas means certain death , but he had a message for the guards too: Keep the upper hand or else!&rdquo (&ldquoMassacre at Attica,&rdquo WV No. 1, October 1971). The spectre of the rebellion continues to haunt the prison authorities, who use it to impress upon all new guards that their job is to keep the inmates in line, using all available means.

Joseph Jazz Hayden, a former inmate who was transferred out of Attica seven days before the rebellion, wrote a letter that is posted on The Marshall Project&rsquos website commenting on its recent exposé. He stated: &ldquoIt is apparent to me that nothing has changed. [the guards] are little more than &lsquoOverseers&rsquo on a slave plantation.&rdquo He continued, &ldquoWould things be different if the &lsquoOverseers&rsquo were black? Nope!&rdquo Indeed, at the Rikers Island jail complex in New York City, the majority of the corrections officers are not white, but that does not change in the slightest their role as vicious overseers for the ruling class, delighting in the brutalization and humiliation of convicts and those awaiting trial (see &ldquoRikers Island: Racist House of Horrors,&rdquo WV No. 1048, 13 June 2014).

Today, the incarcerated population in the U.S. has mushroomed to some 2.4 million, seven times the number in 1971, not least as a result of the racist &ldquowar on drugs.&rdquo The prison population grew massively in the 1970s and 1980s in direct proportion to the sharp decline in unionized manufacturing jobs, a measure of how the bourgeoisie has deemed whole layers of the ghetto and barrio masses &ldquosurplus.&rdquo Prisons and jails represent, in concentrated form, the brutality of this racist capitalist society, with severe dehumanization and oppressive conditions directed against an already marginalized and demoralized population.

As Marxists, we support ameliorating the hideous conditions in the prisons, as seen in our defense of the California prisoners who went on hunger strike in 2013 to demand an end to the Security Housing Unit system of solitary confinement. At the same time, we understand that the capitalist state&rsquos prisons cannot be reformed into humane institutions. To lay the basis for abolishing the whole wretched system of crime and punishment requires a workers revolution to sweep away the bourgeois state and expropriate the class in whose interest the state is administered.


Kyk die video: ALCO DL 537 u0026 ALSTHOM on freight trains in Attica Part 1.