Events for Tuesday August 10, 2010:
1: Community Talk
11 a.m. — 6 p.m.
Holy Trinity Anglican Church (10 Trinity Square, Bay & Queen — behind the Eaton Centre)
Toronto Bishop’s Working Group on Justice and Corrections
The Bridge Prison Ministry
John Howard Society — Toronto
Toronto Restorative Justice Conference
Toronto Harm Reduction Task Force
Holy Trinity Anglican Church
2: Community Vigil and meal
4:00 – 5:30 p.m.
South Riverdale Community Health Centre Room A/B (955 Queen Street East)
Afterwards we will walk in procession to the Don Jail for the 6:30pm vigil.
Reposted Call Out:
This is a call out for solidarity on August 10th, International Prisoner Justice Day.
This date has become a marking point for prison struggle across the world. Often times with anarchists specifically it is seen a point of recuperation within the North American context due to its focus on setting demands and requesting reforms. However, some anarchist living within Southern Ontario have taken some time to reassess the origins of this date and are calling out all prisoners, anarchists and disposed persons to act in tandem with our desires and further our struggles in solidarity.
August 10th became a memorable date for prisoners across the world beginning in 1974 when inmate Edward Nolan bled to death at Millhaven* Maximum Security Prison in Bath, Ontario. He allegedly slit his veins from elbow to wrist after not being transferred from isolation into general population despite his approval for transfer. The following year inmates at Millhaven organized a day-long work strike in memory of Edward which ended with almost all of them facing solitary, some of which were still in the hole a year after the strike.
(*Millhaven Maximum was originally built in 1971 to replace the Kingston Penitentiary, both of which are in full operation to this day. It was built with high tech security systems, surveillance cameras in every cell and electronic consoles capable of opening one or all of its doors from a control room. It was rumours of the construction of this prison and its increased security that incited a four-day prison riot at the Kingston Pen in 1971. Because of this riot, prisoners were prematurely moved into the Millhaven Facility, which had yet to have been completed. Here prisoners were on lockdown for the majority of the time until the prison was completed.)
On May 21st, 1976, in the same facility, Robert Lander died in his cell from a heart attack. Robert had just been transferred from another prison in attempt to pre-emptively suppress the outcomes of a prisoner’s strike which Lander had been involved in organizing. He had spent the evening calling for medical attention and in the morning he was found dead in his cell with a note demanding attention from a doctor.
On the 10th of August of that year, the prisoners of Millhaven staged a one-day hunger strike in remembrance of their fallen comrades. Here is a reprint of the statement, which was released by the prisoners:
“On August 10th, 1976, the Prisoners of Millhaven Maximum Security Prison will stage a one day hunger strike in remembrance of our two fallen comrades, EDWARD NALON and ROBERT LANDERS, who died in Millhaven segregation (solitary confinement) on August 10th, 1974 and May 21st, 1976, respectively; and in remembrance of all our fellow comrades and brothers and sisters from prisons across the country who died in the hands of an apathetic prison system and its people.
Furthermore, it is a protest against the Millhaven Administration, the Canadian Penitentiary Service, and the Members of Parliament for their continued indifference to the recommendation of the Inquest Jury made at the inquest into Edward Nalon’s death.
The recommendations concerned Emergency First Aid Procedure; medical and psychiatric treatment for solitary confinement prisoners and that the emergency signal systems in the cells and the time clock which assures regularity in range patrols be made functional and that steps be taken to provide that they remain functional. None of these recommendations were enacted by the above mentioned authorities.
We protest against the continuous inhumane use of solitary confinement (segregation) and the repeated whitewashing by spineless individuals in the Government who are forever having inquiries into the use of solitary and its effects on a person’s mental and physical state and then hide the real facts of its use from the people.
We call upon our Brothers and Sisters from all prisons across the country, and upon all concerned peoples of Canada, to give their support to our one day hunger strike in remembrance of our comrades and to UNITE AS ONE VOICE IN OUR STRUGGLE for better understanding…compassion and EQUAL JUSTICE FOR ALL.
Jack McNeil & Howard Brown
For the Prisoners of Millhaven “
In 1983, Prisoner Justice Day became international when prisoners in France chose to go on hunger strike as an act of solidarity with other prisoners suffering the same conditions. Here is the statement that was read on a Paris radio station Frequence Libre:
“Why not have on August 10 an international day of solidarity with our imprisoned brothers and sisters,
For here or elsewhere, prison kills,
Whether it be Nalon in Ontario, Bader or Meinhoff in West Germany,
Claude or Ivan in Switzerland, Bobby Sands in Ireland,
Mirval, Haadjadj, Onno, Youssef or so many others in France,
Whether they are serving 53 years like Alexandre Cotte or 16 years like Youssef,
Whether they are considered political or common prisoners,
Prison is a reality, which in the 35 years since Edward and Roberts’ deaths, has not gone away. In fact, as we can see through the change in provincial and federal legislature is only getting worse.
Canada is currently facing one of the largest prison restructurings since the aforementioned time period with a budget of 322.8 million dollars to spend on building new super maximum security prisons and expanding several more federal prisons from minimum security facilities to super maximum centers capable of house up to 1700 inmates per center.
Was it a coincidence then, in 1971, when prisoners rioted for four days because of the daunting rumors of panoptic torture in the form of higher security facilities? No. Nor will it be now, when both prisoners and their potential peers attack the reconstructive forces with a show of ferocity and force.
It is not only within these walls of isolation and torture that the state’s repression works it’s magic. From the many families being torn apart through deportation raids to the increased surveillance of public and private spaces to the under covers living amongst our crews, to our friends and families under house arrest, living with conditions and non-association, to those caught up with legal fees and court date, WE ARE FUCKING DONE!
We are not content to live the rest of our lives stuck in solitary or in fear of it. We are not interested in any crime policies, judicial system or police state. In fact, we are wholly done with it. On August 10th we are proposing a day of action, a day to show our solidarity in struggle with those on the inside, to remind them why they are there and to destroy the apparatus which put them there.
It is obvious that in order to maintain a struggle for our lives that our efforts should and will surpass one single day, but we also recognize the necessity of action on the part of those on the outside especially in the realm of solidarity with the revolt and struggle of prisoners. We are not here for longer leashes or hotter soup but for a freedom which can and will only come from a practice based upon shared desires, shared revolt and shared ideas.As we tighten our bonds with one another and create a reciprocity between our comrades inside, both known and undiscovered, we loosen the shackles and hop the fences. We’ll leave the screws inside….
See You On the Outside!