From the Angola 3 Newsletter, by the International Coalition to Free the Angola 3
Supporters of the Angola 3 have watched over the past year as most of the small privileges won over the course of 40 years of resistance were stripped away and new inordinate and unfair punishments put in their place. Herman, now 69, has endured further isolation and harsh punishment for the most innocuous, exaggerated infractions. Most recently, the State apparently decided that 39 years in continued solitary was also not punitive enough, so they moved Albert to David Wade Correctional Center, seven hours north of his family and supporters, and stripped his phone and visiting rights and just about any other small comfort he might have had. He and Herman both continue to fight these deteriorating conditions, and have had some success, but only in returning to square one.
Other prisoners we work with are also increasingly being moved from facility to facility while triple and quadruple bunking is now commonplace. This is a system gone mad, where everyone involved is encouraged to act only barely human. We hear constant stories of facilities that have no heat in the coldest of winters and we wonder how long these American Gulags can continue to trade on human suffering while operating under guise of capitalist enterprise. How long is long enough? How much punishment is punishment enough? Is there no such thing as redemption?
Now more than ever there is a paramount need to work collaboratively, across all lines, to expand our efforts. Unity of purpose could drive the re-direction of incarceration funds to provide education, health care, and things of real value. With unity of purpose we can challenge the inhumane sentencing and treatment of hundreds of thousands of men, women and children adversely effected by the wholesale incarceration of America. Unity of purpose can unveil a system that calls itself correctional but is instead entirely involved in harsh punishment, both physical and mental, with absolutely no penological purpose.
We stand in unity with the prisoners in Georgia who have presented a completely rational and reasonable list of requests for improved treatment- across county lines and color lines. Their efforts clearly illuminate the success that can be achieved, in the most difficult of all circumstances, through unity of purpose. They decided that it’s time to draw a line in the sand, and we hope there are many who follow.
We stand with the striking prisoners, with Mumia Abu Jamal, The Cuban 5, Leonard Peltier, Russell Maroon Shoats, Ruchell Magee, Eddie Conway, Hugo Pinell, Chip Fitzgerald, their supporters and so many others still languishing behind bars to pledge unity of purpose as we fight what the MOVE family aptly calls’ this rotten-ass system’.
Power cedes nothing without a struggle and power on a budget is more formidable still! Unity of purpose is required to stand up to the joint forces of fear, violence and oppression.
May the New Year bring us closer to each other, for only with unity, can we reach freedom.