More Frequent Updates

We've been using this blog less and our facebook group more often, for random updates and events. So, if you wanna know what we're doing right now, go here.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Crime and Punnishment

By Bomani Shakur, December, 2011

“The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons.”
- Dostoyevsky

If what Dostoyevsky says is true (and I believe it is), then America, which boast the largest prison population in the world, is perhaps the most uncivilized country there is. A bold statement, I know, especially coming from someone who has spent the past twenty-three years behind bars. But if what Dostoyevsky says is true, then what happens inside these places is crucial to understanding what kind of society we live in; and who better to speak to the reality of prison life than someone who is living the experience?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Economic Justice Workshop & Discussion

Malcontents Welcome !

Who: YOU !!! THAT's WHO ! ! !
What: Economic Justice Workshop & Discussion
When: This Sat, Dec 10. Doors open at 4pm. Free Food & Music. Speakers & discussion from 4:30-6pm
Where: 1021 East Broad St. Carriage House
Why: 1) Eat free pizza (while it lasts). 2) Discuss Economic resistance with Fellow OccupyColumbus Freedom Fighters. 3) Bad mouth the 1% Jerkwads. 'nuff said.

Economic Justice /
Economic Resistance

1) Our Broken Nation: Intro
2) Every Day More Pain: The Plight of Service Workers in a Shrinking Economy
3) Strategies of Economic Resistance
4) The Prison Industrial Complex & Redbird Resistance
5) Race Rebels: "Shiftless of the World Unite!"

P.S If you are a member of the 1% you are requested to give away every you own before attending this workshop. Kidding but not really... you can do it after you attend this workshop if you are pressed for time ... or maybe if ya really got a lot of stuff ...

Disclaimer: There should be no presumption of client/attorney priviledge after this workshop. It is not meant to provide specific advice, consultation or encouragement. It is not a replacement for engaging a private attorney should you need one. It is a general information sharing opportunity.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

FCI Elkton Food Strike Update #4

Three updates about last May's Food Strike at FCI Elkton.

1. Our FOIA request appeal has been accepted! The Freedom of Information people will be forcing the prison to hand over reports and information about the food strike and protests at FCI Elkton last spring.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Letters About Abuses at SOCF

Inmate PhotoJoseph Riley, an inmate at SOCF has written letters to the ODRC administration with no response or action. He sent us hand written copies of these letters, which we have transcribed and will resend to Gary Mohr, ODRC, Governor Kasich and attempt to publish in local media sources.

The letters are below, they speak for themselves. Please think twice before calling the police to send more people to be tortured in these facilities.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Message to the Non-incarcerated Queer Community

by Michael J. Dodgens
Homophobia runs rampant in prisons today. In a shut-away world estranged from modern society, a lingering stubbornness to accept what is a fact of life isolates and makes a target out of each incarcerated homosexual.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Occupy Columbus

RedBird made an appearance at Occupy Columbus, we  went with the intention of reminding people that the struggle didn't start on Setp 17th in New York city. People have been committed to resisting this government and this system for longer than America has existed.

We encouraged people to write to political prisoners as a way to connect with some of the more recent examples of that resistance. We handed out fliers and had conversations about the CA prisoner hungerstrike to let people know how deep our invisible friends

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Prisoner Hunger Strike Update

The California Prisoner Hunger Strike has resumed. CDCR reports that 12,000 inmates have participated by skipping at least 9 consecutive meals. Inmate families and advocates estimate that hundreds or thousands have been refusing all food since the strike resumed on Sept 26th. The prison administration has retaliated against hungerstrikers with very repressive policies: denying them privileges and rights, attempting to provoke them to violence, isolating many of them from laywers, advocates, family members, and any other outside support.

The way things are going, in a few weeks we may be living in a country that allows hundreds of people to starve to death in our prisons. We cannot allow that to happen. Our attention and anger is a very important part of reversing this process. You can call CA gov Jerry Brown at 916-445-2841 and help flood his office with demands that the SHU be shut down, that the hungerstrikers' demands be met, that CA reform it's prison system, now.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

East Coast 'In the Belly' tour report!

We just got back from a two week tour talkin' bout prison abolition along the East Coast. Here's our report-back, including where we went, who we met, and what we learned:


Played a performance art space in a converted church. It's an art center, subsidized by the city to encourage culture in Athens. Our audience consisted of maybe 30-40 people, students, artists, local eccentrics, old hippies. Athens is a college town, and it seems like most people in the audience were involved or associated with the university in some way. The audience was mostly white, but there was a pretty wide array of ages present.
It was interesting performing in a "real" theatre space, even though we had the audience come up on the stage with us. Having black outs and control of our lighting was nice. We felt good about our performances, and crashed with an old geography friend of Wes'. Stayed up into the night taking about Colorado and artificial arrangements of public space.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Lucasville uprising prisoner dies in Ohio

By Sharon Danann
in: Workers World
Published Sep 17, 2011

Abdul-Muhaymin Nuruddin

Abdul-Muhaymin Nuruddin, a prisoner convicted as James Bell, died this past week of an apparent heart attack while in custody. His body has yet to be released so that his funeral can take place, in disregard of Muslim custom of burial within 24 hours.

Nuruddin was a negotiator on behalf of the prisoners during the 1993 rebellion in Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville, Ohio. He was held in high esteem by his fellow prisoners for his work in SOCF’s law library, where he prepared appeals, writs of habeas corpus and civil law suits.

Update on Pelican Bay Hungerstrike.

The most important part of this update is that Pelican Bay inmates intend to resume their hunger strike on Sept 26th. We will keep everyone informed about what is happening and will hopefully be bringing some solidarity actions together.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Workshop Recap: Lucasville Uprising.

Our presentation about the Lucasville uprising had four parts. 1. the case. 2. Why it’s political. 3. What support may look like. 4. How racial dynamics complicate support.

1. THE CASE We shared a quick summary of the case, with some visual aids. We focused on thosewe knew the most about: Siddique Hasan, Bomani Shakur, Jason Rob, Namir Mateen, George Skates, and Greg Curry. These were by far not all of those involved in the uprising. There weren’t a lot of questions, so we either did a pretty good job of getting A LOT of information transmitted in 15 minutes, or people felt too overwhelmed and confused to even know what to ask.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Reportback: ABC conference!

Collaboratively written by Kate, Wes and Ben
We decided to apply to participate in the North American Anarchist Black Cross (ABC for short) conference in Denver, and look at that, we ended up going. Though we don’t focus specifically on political prisoners, as ABC groups do, we definitely do some of this kind of work and are happy to exist in the space between political prisoner support and resistance to incarceration in general. We booked a couple shows on the way out there, developed a workshop on the Lucasville Uprising, performed at the conference and had a great time meeting people and learning from them.

The conference was organized by Denver Anarchist Black Cross, who is based out of the 27 Social Center - a warehouse space that includes a print shop, health collective, childcare collective, zine library, lending library, office space, show space, and a collective house upstairs. It’s a really amazing and inspiring place. Denver ABC seems to have more members and more activities than any other ABC in the US these days, they’re not sure why. Members are also involved in a lot of diverse activities, supporting political prisoners, copwatch, courtwatch (specifically for Immigration and Customs Enforcement cases), rallies and actions against police violence, the Denver Armed Resistance Committee, and I can’t even remember all the others. 

Monday, August 8, 2011

FCI Elkton Food Strike Update #3

Letter I wrote to the guy who dismissed my FOIA request:

August 8th, 2011 Henry J Sadowski
US Department of Justice
Federal Bureau of Prisons
Northeast Regional Office
US Custom House – 7th floor
2nd & Chestnut Streets
Philadelphia, PA 19106 RE: Freedom of Information Request No. 2011-08416
 Dear Henry,
 I trust you know that your response was not responsive to my request. Nevertheless, I am very dissatisfied with this response. I requested shift logs and incident reports from specific days. Nothing you say can convince me that there were no shift logs or incident reports for those days. If there is a criminal investigation going on, the sensitive information could be redacted from those logs and reports.
 You are lying to me. I do not appreciate it. Do you know what “freedom of information” means? Are you trying to prove to me that we do not live in a country that is at all responsive to or respectful of it’s citizens? If so, you are doing a good job. I have to admit I’m not surprised, I've been on to you all for a while. I expect I’ll soon verify my suspicion that the bureaucrats in the appeals process share your disdain for the citizens you allegedly serve.
 Have a nice day, you authoritarian paper pusher.

Next I'll write a letter to the attny general appeals process, but that one will be dull. When i get a dismissive response from those fuckers, i'll share my snotty retort.

In other news on this subject, kate's working on publishing an OP ED article from our penpal at Elkton about their lighting policy. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


We have been too busy for the internet. Here's what's up...

1. Pelican Bay- we went to Ohio State Penitentiary  for a "supermax to supermax" rally organized by the Lucasville Uprising Freedom Network. Before talking about the silly little action we did, I want to acknowledge both the amazing bravery of the hungerstrikers and the despicable apathy of the powers that starved them for four weeks (some are still refusing food). Read updates here. We made the group into about 15 people standing on the side of the road 1/4 mile away from the prison. Visitors came and waved. We chatted with folks and got sunburnt. Shift change happened and dozens of COs drove past scowling. We got bored and felt even more ineffectual than protests normally make us feel, cuz we were out of sight of both the inmates we were trying to express solidarity with and the administration we were trying to confront. So, we got our signs and some buckets and marched, past the no tresspassing signs making as much racket as we could. A couple other protesters joined us, including Brother Quahar of the new black panthers. We made it to the parking lot by looking at the ground, walking and not stopping with the noise every time a car pulled up next to us to try and talk to us. Finally in the parking lot an oily no-nonsense CO who clearly did not know how to talk with people he couldn't get away with beating up or macing with impunity informed us that the highway patrol was on their way to arrest us if we didn't leave immediately. We knew we weren't going to tear down any walls that day, and had important plans to come back and visit people the next morning, so we marched back, hoping at least half the inmates had seen or heard us. 20 minutes later 4 highway patrol cars rolled up and a much more polite officer told us that we ought not do that again. As usual he started with "who's in charge here" and when we told him no one was, he directed his statements at me, until Wes and Kate reminded him that they were there too.

2. ABC conference- We're going to the Denver ABC conference, and they've asked us to do a presentation on the Lucasville Uprising Prisoners. With that goal in mind, we visited Staughten and Alice Lynd at their house near Youngstown. They've both done a lot of work with the Lucasville cases, including writing the book on it. They have so much detailed knowledge to share. I feel like we could have talked to them all night, but we only had 45 minutes.  Then we camped out in a thunderstorm, which was surprisingly fun. The next day we went back to OSP to visit Siddique Abdullah Hasan and Bomani Shakur. This was an inspiring and very enjoyable experience. Bomani and Ben shared handshakes and book references. Hasan, Kate and Weslie talked about all kinds of current events and political prisoner issues. We also discovered they're celled on the other side of the prison. We'll have to march around the whole perimeter to be seen by them. We got a much better understanding of their case and their preferences for what we tell ABC. We'll be going back soon, for the bigger challenge of talking with Jason Robb about his affiliation with the Aryan Brotherhood and ABC's tradition of refusing solidarity with white supremacist groups. We're very much looking forward to helping the complexities of the lucasville situation enrich discussion and analysis at the ABC conference.

3. Elkton FCI food strike - got a letter from the shitheads claiming that they can't give me any records I requested. They say it's part of an ongoing criminal investigation and I can appeal to a higher authority, which I will be doing.

4. The "what are prisons for" puppet show from Mysterious Rabbit and Puppet Army was really great. If you have a chance to see them, please do.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

What are Prisons For? Puppet show about the Prison Industrial Complex

The Mysterious Rabbit Puppet Army rolls into town on Friday, July 22nd as part of its whirlwind, month-long excursion across the continental United States to raise awareness about the prison system. Performing at 9 at Villa Vilekula 2623 Neil Ave.

Monday, July 11, 2011

News Updates- FCI Elkton and Pelican Bay

FCI ELKTON- Been calling to check up on the FOIA request every couple days. They're still processing it. If you'd like to help pressure them to take this more seriously, please see this post.

We also received a letter from an inmate at FCI Elkton, who wrote an article about the 24 hour lights-on policy which he says inspired the protest. We're working on publishing the whole article, but here's an excerpt about the food strike: "On May 18th, 2011, the majority of the inmate population at Elkton participated in a "food strike" where they refused to attend the meals offered at the chow hall in protest of a variety of newly imposed policies (constant lighting at nighttime being the most significant). The protest lasted about a week.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Pelican Bay Solidarity

On July 1st hundreds of inmates in SHU in California started an indefinite hungerstrike. The mainstream media is (of course) not making a peep about this, but you can read about it and follow events here.

You can also take action by signing this petition or calling these politicians. Please do.

We couldn't help but take this opportunity to point out the irony of our nationwide celebration of america's independence from an authority far weaker than the authority the US currently holds us under and exercises  around the world. So, we made up some flyers and handed them out first at Red White and Boom and then at the Doo Dah Parade. Of course, handing out flyers isn't going to tear down any prison walls, but we got some new ideas about prison and the fact of the hunger strike's existence into hundreds of people's hands.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

FCI Elkton Food Strike Update #1

A few weeks ago we learned that there had been a mass protest demonstration in FCI Elkton. More about that here.

We've been pursuing information about this and unfortunately, we haven't got much to report at this time. Either something big went down or they're really paranoid about sharing any information at all. I expect the latter.

After calling almost daily for over a week, as media, because I was planning to write an article for Street Speech I finally got through to the PR person. He simply told me he doesn't think Street Speech fits his criteria for being media and therefore he would not talk to me.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

June 11th reportback

This event ended up being a rather intimate and informal gathering. About ten of us got together, discussed police, safe space, community accountability and long term political prisoners. We had a great dinner in the beautiful backyard of the king house and had a lot of fun with the staged reading of Accidental Death of an Anarchist. Tim Dechristopher showed up as the play was wrapping up, so we got a chance to meet and chat with him. Its unfortunate that our event was overshadowed by a multitude of other things (graduation parties, concerts, naked bike ride) if you couldn't make it, you definitely missed out on a good time. But you don't need to miss out on most of the reasons we got together, because you can still get involved in them.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Prisoner Food Strike in Ohio

Last month (May 18-23) inmates at FCI Elkton (in Lisbon, OH) went on food strike. We have very little information about this right now. One of our penpals mentioned it, and the only information online about it were announcements of the subsequent lockdown and one post on We'll do some follow up and hopefully have more information soon.

Here's what we know now:

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Dinner Theatre Solidarity Fundraiser

[read the reportback from this event here.]

June 11th is a new holiday! It's the international day of solidarity with long term anarchist prisoners.

RedBird Prison Abolition is planning an event to celebrate this holiday in Columbus. Please join us at 64 King Ave, on Sat June 11th for the following activities.

6PM- Discussion Circle, come talk about and take action on making ourselves and our community less dependent on the police and prison system. Continue and join the conversations we had after the last performance of Ad Seg.

Ad Seg reportback...

We performed Ad Seg after the weekly 64 King potluck on Tuesday, and followed with an intentional and fruitful discussion about what we, as a group of people from various backgrounds and social groupings can do to reduce our dependence on police.

There were about 20 people there and we first talked about the play a little, then did a go around sharing stories of times we'd called the police, or avoided calling the police. Meg from CAAC was also there and shared insights about transformative justice and her experiences with CAAC.

Things that came from this discussion include:

  • suggestion that housemates/friendship groups have intentional discussions among themselves about things like when they're comfortable or not

Friday, May 13, 2011

Special Performance of Ad Seg

Insurgent Theatre has been touring with this show called Ad Seg since February. After a recent jaunt to Ben and Kate's former homeland of Wisconsin we decided to do a local performance in Columbus focusing on the radical community here and centering the discussion on alternatives to police and prison.

This performance will be at 64 King Ave, following the weekly vegan potluck (food starts at 7, play around 9) and the discussion will feature members of RedBird Prison Abolition and Megan Zakany from Community Accountability Action Collective (CAAC). 

The potluck is not exclusively vegan food, but please label any non-vegan things you bring. The play is about 40 minutes long, and discussion will go as long as people want to talk about things. There is nudity in the play. A donation jar will be passed, some of the proceeds will go to covering RedBird Prison Abolition's very low operating expenses.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Reportback: Amnesty Intl Conference.

So, Amnesty International at OSU held a human rights conference on Sat April 9th. One part of this conference was a panel discussion on human rights abuses in US prisons.

The panel was comprised of Brian Wells, Executive Director of T.O.U.C.H. Eric Crew, Advocate with Ohio Justice and Policy Center (OJCP) and Sharon Dannon of the Lucasville Uprising Freedom Network. Each spoke for 15 minutes, and then things were opened up to questions.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Protest this weekend!

Some members of Redbird Prison Abolition will be heading to Youngstown on Sunday to participate in a rally outside the Ohio State Penitentiary. If you would like to join us, contact Ben or 414 305 9832

The protest is April 10, 2:30 PM, 878 Coitsville-Hubbard Rd., Youngstown, OH. Carpool with us!

There are two issues the rally will be focusing on:

1. Native American prisoner Janson Campbell, who recently went on hunger strike to gain access to items needed for his worship practices. Read more about him here.

2. The continued confinement in solitary, on death row, of the Lucasville negotiators. April 11th is the anniversary of the uprising. We've raised money and awareness for them in the past. Read about that here. Also, here is a statement from one of the inmates, Bomani, made 4 years ago on the 14th anniversary of the uprising.

Friday, March 18, 2011

March Solidarity Showcase Report Back!

One week ago, Redbird Prison Abolition and Insurgent Theatre hosted yet another Solidarity Showcase at Kafe Kerouac, here in Columbus. A bunch of people turned out, including some moms and longtime prison abolitionists, as well as friends and showcase regulars. Two special occurrences marked this showcase as particularly resonant for me: one, Insurgent Theatre's Columbus debut of their new play, AD SEG, and two, a live phone call from Siddique Abdullah Hasan, who currently sits on death row in the Ohio State Penitentiary for a crime he did not commit.

This Solidarity Showcase was to raise funds (made $226 with Insurgent Theatre's matching donation) and awareness for those railroaded and placed on death row following the Lucasville Uprising. Five men from the Lucasville Southern Ohio Correctional Facility,

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Ad Seg Tour!

ad seg, knoxville
Some of us took a play about the US prison system on tour. We brought in $178 to cover some of RedBird's recent expenses. There's a full report and lots more information about the play available online here.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Redbird Prison Abolition...

We have decided to change our name. Columbus Anarchist Black Cross is now Redbird Prison Abolition. There are various associations with "ABC" that weren't really serving us very well. We've decided our name should reflect the biggest vision and broadest goal of our activities: abolition.

March Solidarity Showcase for the Lucasville 5

Lucasville Uprising Solidarity Showcase. Another variety show fundraiser! This time we're raising money for the inmates at Ohio State Penitentiary who went on hungerstrike in January. Read more about them here. 

Friday, March 11th, 8PM at Kafe Kerouac (2250 North High Street). This is also the first public performance of Insurgent Theatre and Puppeteria's new play Ad Seg.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Ad Seg

Later this month Insurgent Theatre will tour with a new play about prisons, 1/3 of the funds raised on tour will go toward our efforts to support organizers and others trapped inside Ohio State prisons.

The first performance in Columbus of Ad Seg will be at our next Solidarity Showcase, on March 11th. Lots more information about the play is available here.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Ohio Prison System Maps.

A map showing prison locations in Ohio and county population size. Download a full-size version of this map here.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Report back on the Hungerstrike at the OSP.

Jan 15th- Ohio State Penitentiary in Youngstown, members of Columbus ABC attended the Solidarity Rally for Lucasville Uprising death sentenced prisoners.

The most important thing is what we learned at the reception after the rally... Staughten Lynd (lawyer and author of this book on the uprising) told us all about the hunger strike, which was a mixed success. Thursday morning (the 13th) the prisoners (Siddique Abdullah Hasan, Namir Abdul Mateen, Bomani Shakur and Jason Robb) met with Warden David Bobby and other prison officials. Under their security conditions, this means they were in four separate cages, unable to see each other, but able to hear each other and all see the officials. The Warden had accepted most of the demands without any negotiation or concession by the prisoners other than they start eating again. 

Monday, January 17, 2011

Georgia Prison Strike Summary

I wrote this article for Street Speech, condensing the reading I've done on the subject into a single document. It's written for a newspaper, so there's minimum editorializing.  

On the morning of Thursday Dec 9th, thousands of inmates in six prisons in Georgia refused to leave their cells or go their work assignments. This non-violent sit-down protest lasted 6 days and has been recognized as the largest prison strike in US history. The organizing effort continues to this day. According to one inmate interviewed by Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the prisoners only called off the strike because officials couldn't respond to the striker's demands while they were on strike. Officials were faced with hiring outside workers to maintain the prison, which normally depends on unpaid inmate labor to function.