Sunday, March 11, 2012

Solidarity Statement from David Gilbert

“Warm greetings and strong solidarity go out to the Lucasville brothers now facing the death penalty and broader repression as a result of standing up for prisoners' rights. I can only imagine how difficult and challenging your situation is. Still, as we know from the centuries of struggles to abolish slavery, early principled stands, even when the odds are completely against us, help create a legacy that makes later advances possible. Everyone who cares about human rights should support you. I salute your courage and principles and wish you the very best in the struggles ahead.”

(David Gilbert, anti-imperialist PP)


  1. Prison doesnt equate to slavery. Slaves had no choice when it came to shackles and chains. Most inmates do. I doubt you post this because most extremists only like their side told. You preach about human rights. Doesnt the public that abides by the law have a right to have criminals separated from them? Rather, would you want the criminal element running rampant creating more cess pools in society. Ohio prisons are far from oppressive. Rioters who killed other humans deserve punishment. If you dont publish this thats fine, you read it and you will be the one denying the truth.

  2. Hello Anonymous,

    Thank you for sharing your views. I disagree with your views on the "choice" prisoners have. I find it funny that you assume we're "extremists" who will only tell one side of a story. In reality, it is the moderates and mainstream who only acknowledge one side of these stories, and who deny truths as a matter of course.

    I encourage you to think more critically about the assumptions you make. First, where is this public who abides by the law? To be completely law-abiding in this society would be to be completely passive and docile. The reality is that laws are selectively enforced in order to put poor and minority populations in prison. Over 90% of the prison population comes from a poor or working class background. 95% of them didn't get trials, so your assumption that prisoners are criminals is also very tenuous.

    You are also making the unfounded assumption that the people serving time following the uprising are the people who killed others during it. This is simply not true. The people serving time because of the uprising are the people who refused to cooperate with the prosecutors and investigators, who refused to be coerced and coached into making false testimony. In the future, we'll be putting up court documents in which the prosecutors after trial admit that they gave deals to informants in order to procure false testimony. In a free country with due process this evidence would be inadmissible.

    I also encourage you to think more critically about the role of prison in society. It does not successfully separate victims from perpetrators. It does not rehabilitate or even deter crime. If those are the functions of the prison system, it fails miserably (if it worked, crime would go down as incarceration rates go up). I'd argue that police and prison serve other functions: maintaining class and racial divisions, protecting the property of the wealthy, making profits for prison industries, and breaking up families and social networks in targeted communities. I'd argue that because that is what actually happens, and is happening more and more as incarceration rates rise. The prison system is designed to serve the function that it serves, and that function is terrible.

  3. Thanks for posting my comment. I apologize for the extremist comment and hope you accept. I disagree on the 95% not getting trials. I'm pretty sure we arent arresting people and taking them straight to prison. As far as laws designed to maintain class and racial divide, how so? I have the same laws to abide by as everyone else. When i see a stop sign i dont think it was put there do divide me by class or race. When a murder is committed and someone is convicted I dont think the decision to send that person to prison for the rest of their life is made by some secret powers that be plot to racially divide us all.

    I believe deals were made during the riot, as in practically every trial around the country today. Deals save time and money for the court system. I disagree only because usually the deal maker is making the deal to avoid being punished for their part in the crime, not because they are giving false info.

    The large amount of poor or working class inmates comes from them not having money to find errors or loopholes to circumvent justice. Not from them being targeted because of class or race. Money is the deciding factor here not oppressive racist government. You'd be hard pressed to show me one inmate that wouldnt walk out the door today even though they were 100% guilty, if they were to be released on a technicality.

    You say the ones serving the time refused to cooperate. Fine. People were murdered. They deserve justice. If you have info to obtain that justice and you dont release it. You are impeding justice.

    Prisons today do not rehabilitate. Agree 100%. These inmates have no idea of responsibility to themselves or society upon release. The programming and resources are pathetic. But whats even more pathetic. The inmates have a choice, a choice in whether or not to participate. Most choose not to. Therefore i have to conclude that they do not plan on changing their lives for the better. I personally would rather have an inmate do 2 years hard labor( not slave labor) rather than 10-15 of nothing. Just doing something day in and day out and on a strict routine. Let them see that life isnt a bowl of cherries. That people have to get up and work everyday. Maybe they can then get out and be productive. I have personally seen inmates that have never done anything but cause trouble their entire time incarcerated. No programming, no job, etc. And then be released back to society! Absurd! But it was the inmates choice. Alot of these inmates complain about their state pay and the majority dont even want to work period. I say alot, not all. Id like to hear more on your views of what industries profit from prisons.

  4. I accept your apology, and hope this conversation can continue in a respectful manner. 95% of people not getting trials is not an opinion you can disagree with. It is a fact. Here is more factual information on that, and on race in prison:

    A system that is based on deals, exaggerated charges, manipulation, coersion and threats is a failed system. The witnesses in the trials following the uprising were giving false testimony and the prosecutors knew it. The witnesses were bribed and coached. According to interviews in the public record "investigators" literally trained snitches like dogs: swatting them on the nose with rolled up paper if they said the wrong thing. If they were telling the truth, they would not need coaching.

    The people on death row, and some others are innocent. They refused to cooperate because their experiences with the prison system proved to them that investigations and convictions have little to do with truth or justice. Those who are not innocent were fighting for their lives against a prison that criminally violated it's regulations and maintained deadly and inhumane conditions. Their actions were a matter of life and death because of a situation created by the warden and ODRC. Even the "guilty" should not be punished in such circumstances. The ODRC are the ones who are really guilty.

    Can i ask who you are and what you know of conditions at SOCF at the time of the uprising? I've been forthcoming about who I am and where i learned what i know. What informs your opinion?

  5. slavery is legal in prison. read the 13th amendment