May Day 2015 in Kingston

May Day March and Free BBQ!
Friday, May 1st, 2015
5pm: Free BBQ in Doug Fluhrer Park
6pm: March Downtown

On May 1st, 1886, 40,000 workers in Chicago—and half a million across the United States—participated in a three-day general strike demanding an eight-hour work day. A week-long struggle resulted between protesters and police, and ultimately eight protesters were arrested, convicted without evidence, and executed. Their executions are widely regarded as some of the most overt political assassinations of radicals in North America, and May 1st has since been marked as International Workers Day in their honour. Since 2006, May Day has also been widely marked as a day to protest racist immigration policies in Canada and the United States and demand status for all. Strikes, pickets and protests take place around the world on May 1st to honour and celebrate the struggles of workers, immigrants and poor people all over.

In Kingston, we are gathering for May Day for the sixth consecutive year. Join us at 5pm for a free BBQ in Doug Fluhrer Park followed by a spirited march downtown. Come hungry and bring your neighbours, co-workers, classmates and friends!

For more information contact maydaykingston [at] riseup [dot] net

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Call for Submissions: Over the Wall Issue 3 (Spring 2015)

OVER THE WALL is a twice-annual newsletter about strikes, actions and struggles going on inside or around Ontario prisons. The purpose of this newsletter is to share information about prison issues and prison-related actions with supporters and potential supporters on the outside. Over the Wall is put out by End the Prison Industrial Complex (EPIC), a prison abolition group based in Kingston.

Issue 1 (Spring 2014) focuses on the federal prisoners strike against major pay cuts to prison labour, and strikes in the immigration unit in Lindsay against indefinite detention.

Issue 2 (Fall 2014) features report-backs, statements and analysis from Prisoners Justice Day 2014.

We would like to release this issue in anticipation of International Workers Day (May 1st), also known as May Day. We are looking for submissions on anything related to struggles inside or against prisons in Ontario, but here are a few suggested topics to get your wheels turning:

- Ongoing resistance to prisoner pay cuts and elimination of CORCAN incentive pay;
– How prisoners could be affected by provincial COs going on strike;
– The skyrocketing incarceration rates of Native women and Black men;
– Initial experiences in new units becoming operational now;
– The public debate about segregation and how prisoners contest its use… etc.

If you have a story or article that you’d like us to include, or if you’d like to receive the newsletter by mail, email us at epic [at] riseup [dot] net, or write to:

EPIC
427 Princess St, Suite 409
Kingston ON K7L 5S9.

Please send submissions for this issue so we receive them by April 1, 2015. This is an ongoing project, so feel free to send us news and information for future issues whenever you like.

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About May Day: On May 1, 1886, 40,000 workers in Chicago—and half a million across the United States—participated in a three-day general strike demanding an eight-hour work day. A week-long struggle resulted between protesters and police, and ultimately eight protesters were arrested, convicted without evidence, and executed. Their executions are widely regarded as some of the most overt political assassinations of radicals in North America, and May 1st has since been marked as International Workers Day in their honour. Since 2006, May Day has also been widely marked as a day to protest racist immigration policies in Canada and the United States and demand status for all. Strikes, pickets and protests take place around the world on May 1st to honour and celebrate the struggles of workers, immigrants, and poor people all over.

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Bill C-51 and the International Day Against Police Brutality

The following text is taken from a flyer we distributed at the rally against Bill C-51 in Kingston on March 14, 2015.

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Tomorrow, March 15th, is the International Day Against Police Brutality.

Police inflict terror on our communities – they harass, humiliate, beat, and even murder us with relative impunity. They send our loved ones to jail, and they protect the rich and powerful through targeted repression against the poor, immigrants and communities of colour.

Bill C-51 will expand Canada’s policing apparatus by granting CSIS and the RCMP a wide range of new powers to combat “threats to Canada,” such as warrantless searches, preventative arrest and nearly infinite surveillance powers. But Bill C-51 is only one part of a larger, ever-expanding policing apparatus. When we limit our protest to one bill, one police agency or one exceptional power we can lose sight of the fact that terrorizing communities and crushing resistance is a primary function of any police, whether it be CSIS or the Kingston cops. The RCMP, Canada’s first police force, was created to imprison and murder Native people resisting Canada’s westward expansion. It is what police have always done and will always do, so long as they exist. This is why we are making the link to March 15th and calling for a world without police.

We can’t rely on the state to protect us from its own political police. Opposing Bill C-51 has brought us together today, but we can’t let reformers and politicians trick us into thinking a legislative amendment, improved oversight or another political party in power can really change what is fundamentally a system that protects a rich, white ruling class against the rest of us. The events in Ferguson and across North America this past year have reminded us that it is possible to fight back against the police, and we are inspired by those pushing cops out of their communities (rather than lobbying to buy them body cameras). We can imagine a world without police, prisons or borders. Let’s start here and now.

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Full Article: A Story For Prisoners Justice Day

An excerpt of this story was originally published in our newsletter Over the Wall, Issue 2 (Fall 2014).

So today, Prisoners’ Justice Day 2014, I think back to the first Prisoners’ Justice Day I ever participated in, in 1980, and can’t help but think of the old saying: “the more things change, the more things stay the same.” I like this saying because it is a simplification of a complicated truth.

I want to tell you a little story. I spent some months in the maximum security unit of Ontario’s federal prison for women, Grand Valley Institution for Women. We lived in groups of 5, in pods which were completely self-contained units we could not leave except for very short periods of time. During that time, I had a job cleaning a room outside our pod, but could never do it because apparently there was never enough staff to escort me to this room just down the hall. So I volunteered to clean our pod everyday since there was no one else to do it at that time. One day I was cleaning, and a large heavy set woman, parked herself on a nearby chair and started telling me what to do. “Don’t sweep so close to my cell, I don’t want dirt going in under the door, don’t use so much detergent, can’t you go faster.”

Continue reading

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Full Article: Address to Market Square

An excerpt of this statement was originally published in our newsletter Over the Wall, Issue 2 (Fall 2014). You can also listen to the original audio recording here.

It’s safe to assume that other people have given a lengthy and detailed account account about what Prisoner Justice Day is and how and why it’s observed. It has been forty years since the untimely death of an inmate due to systemic negligence resulted in other prisoners taking action. But even after four decades it is uncertain that much has changed and we remain the the wildernesses outside of mainstream society. The high profile death of Ashley Smith as corrections officers watched her die under orders not to intercede shows that it is not a simple matter of making sure that emergency call buttons function properly or that policy and procedure exist to ensure fair treatment and a minimum of violence used against the incarcerated population.

What Ashley’s death shows us is that it is attitude and perception that must change.

Continue reading

Posted in CFRC, Frontenac Institution, Local Prisoners, Newsletter, PJD | Leave a comment

September 28th: Prisoner Letter-Writing

Prisoner Letter Writing Afternoon
Sunday September 28th, 1pm – 3pm
AKA Autonomous Social Centre, the red and black house at the corner of Queen and Wellington (wheelchair accessible).

Have you ever written a letter to a prisoner?

Prison is all about isolation and segregation, and the state does not want non-prisoners to connect with people inside its institutions. Letter-writing can be a great way to make a new friend, learn about the prison system and build connections between incarcerated folks and those outside.

Stamps, paper, envelopes, coffee and snacks will be provided. We can also help you brainstorm ways to get a penpal if you don’t have one already. Childcare is available on-site on request, contact epic [at] riseup [dot] net. AKA is a wheelchair- accessible space.

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October 17th: Newsletter Launch and Punk Show!

EPIC Newsletter Launch and Punk Show
Feat The Dead Sparrows, Police Funeral & Crazy Bomber
Friday, October 17th, 7:00pm – 11:00pm
Sleepless Goat Cafe, 91 Princess Street
All Ages/Pay What You Can

Over The Wall is a print newsletter based in Kingston about struggles going on inside or around Ontario prisons. The goal of the project is to share information about what’s going on inside prison walls with supporters and potential supporters on the outside. Our first issue was launched in April 2014 and focused on the prisoner strikes across the country against the pay cuts in federal prisons.

We are pleased to announce the release of a second issue which will feature report-backs, statements and analysis from this year’s Prisoners Justice Day. The official launch will take place on Friday, October 17th at the Sleepless Goat from 7pm-11pm and will feature three political punk bands from across the region.

More info about the bands:

The Dead Sparrows (Trenton) – http://thedeadsparrows.bandcamp.com
Police Funeral (Ottawa) – http://policefuneral.bandcamp.com
Crazy Bomber (Peterborough) – http://crazybomber.bandcamp.com

epicpunk

Posted in Announcements, Events, Newsletter, PJD | Leave a comment

September 12th: Prison Town

Check out this event organized by OPIRG Kingston!!!

Prison Town: An Introduction to the Prison-Industrial Complex in Kingston
Friday, September 12th at 3pm
Room 102, Theological Hall, Queen’s University
With five federal institutions in the area and more than 2000 prisoners, Kingston is the prison capital of Canada. Join us for an introduction to the prison industrial complex and its history and function within Kingston and Canada, and the politics of prison abolition.

This event is part of OPIRG’s 2014 Alternative Frosh events
Facebook event: http://www.facebook.com/events/835342256489482

altfrosh

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PJD 2014 Audio

Thanks to everyone who contributed to and participated in marking this year’s Prisoners Justice Day in Kingston. To listen to the full CFRC 101.9fm broadcast, you can access the archives here. Here is a rundown of what is available:

August 10, 2014
1100-1200h: History of PJD, Biography of Chester Crosley, Stephen Reid Interview
1200-1300h: Memorial Segment, Kate Johnson Interview
1300-1400h: Chris Brown Interview, End Immigration Detention Network
1400-1500h: EIDN cont’d, Kingston Rally Footage and Interviews
1500h-1800h: Messages and Music Requests

Also you can access the following contributions from Frontenac and Collins Bay institutions, recorded over the phone:

History of Prisoners Justice Day by John Schaefler, Frontenac Institution
Frontenac Inmate Committee Statement
“Prisoners Justice Day” by Jarrod Shook, Collins Bay Institution
EPIC Interview with Jarrod Shook

CFRC PJD 2014

 

Posted in CFRC, Collins Bay, Frontenac Institution, General, Jarrod Shook, Kingston Pen, Local Prisoners, PJD | Leave a comment

August 31st: Prisoner Letter-Writing

EPIC Presents a Prisoner Letter Writing Afternoon
Sunday August 31st, 1 pm – 4 pm
AKA Autonomous Social Centre, the red and black house at the corner of Queen and Wellington (wheelchair accessible).

Have you ever written a letter to a prisoner?

Prison is all about isolation and segregation, and the state does not want non-prisoners to connect with people inside its institutions. Letter-writing can be a great way to make a new friend, learn about the prison system and build connections between incarcerated folks and those outside.

Stamps, paper, envelopes, coffee and snacks will be provided. We can also help you brainstorm ways to get a penpal if you don’t have one already. Childcare is available on-site on request, contact epic [at] riseup [dot] net. AKA is a wheelchair- accessible space.

Posted in General | Leave a comment