Red and Black Telly roundup







Government announces plans to build four more mega-prisons.

corporate watch

On Sunday 28th June 2020, the British Government announced plans to build four new prisons. This article gives an update on the Prison Estates Transformation Programme – the state’s programme to create more than 10,000 prison places. This programme was the topic of Corporate Watch’s Prison Island report about prison expansion in England, Wales and Scotland published in 2018.

Summary

  • One new prison is planned for the North-West of England
  • Two new prisons are planned in the South-East of England
  • The announcement includes the already-in-process mega-prison at the site next to HMP Full Sutton in East Yorkshire.
  • Two previously announced prisons are also in the midst of construction in Wellingborough and Leicestershire.
  • If all the prisons are successfully built, a total of 13,360 new prison places will have been created, massively expanding the prison system.
  • The government has been boasting about its plans to create 10,000 new prison places since 2016, however, has only created 206 new places in the last four years.
  • Resistance to prison expansion and government bureaucracy have significantly delayed the programme.

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Saturday June 13: A report from Trafalgar Square

Cautiously pessimistic

Yesterday was an eventful day. For the sake of posterity, here’s a lightly-edited version of the report posted on twitter by the Malcolm X Movement:*

“History was made today in Ldn: Militant independent black working class youth-led history, in the face of an formidable array of forces railed against them from the govt, to the fascist,from left/BLMUK to wellknown celebrities.
This is an account from the direct experiences of MXM members today, and also our close unified approach with London Black Revs and several other radical black formations.
The background today is nearly 10 years of a general absence of radical grassroots resistance, the last time was August 2011 when we rose up for 3 days after the police murder of Mark Duggan Broadwater Farm crew.

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Solidarity with the Struggle of North American People!

Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front – ZACF

Solidarity with the Struggle of North American People by Sifuna Zonke

We repudiate the cowardly murder of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis’s police officers, another racist act in the heart of a world imperialist power. This event is added to the countless number of killings of people of colour and the Afro-descendent population in the United States which has been perpetuated since the days of slavery and hasn’t yet stopped.

Racism, a structural element in capitalist society, especially in North American capitalism, is unfortunately intact, but resistance and fighting spirit from people of color and poor people arises in response. Only solidarity and mutual aid will allow us to resist.

Solidarity with the Struggle of North American People!

All Support to Anarchist Organizations of USA

We repudiate the cowardly murder of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis’s police officers, another racist act in the heart of a world imperialist power. This event is added to the countless number of killings of people of colour and the Afro-descendent population in the United States which has been perpetuated since the days of slavery and hasn’t yet stopped. During Obama’s government there were dozens of murders of young blacks, which recalls similar racist times of the 1950s and 60s.

The answer was a fast and organized upsurge of the black movement far and wide across the country, similar to this moment in which a huge protest movement is developing, revealing that people are sick of police violence and impunity. A Minneapolis police station was burned by protestors and some police cars were attacked. Direct action is a weapon of resistance, something which multiplied across various cities with clashes between protestors and police officers, even Donald Trump ordered the Army to take the streets and curfews were decreed in 25 cities.

Racism, a structural element in capitalist society, especially in North American capitalism, is unfortunately intact, but resistance and fighting spirit from people of color and poor people arises in response. But Trump also accuses anarchists and antifascist activists of being the instigators of the riots. This movement is a popular revolt, the dozens of thousands of people who participate are not anarchists or do not claim to belong to any political current, but as always the spheres of power try to find those responsible to blame, so as not to question structural issues and conclude that the racist, patriarchal and capitalist State that oppresses and kills the popular classes is the actual instigator of the revolts.

RACISM HAS TO BE BURIED TOGETHER WITH CAPITALISM. ALL OUR SUPPORT AND SOLIDARITY WITH NORTH AMERICAN PEOPLE WHO ARE FIGHTING AGAINST POLICE AND STATE VIOLENCE AND ABUSES.

Only solidarity and mutual aid will allow us to resist.

ALL SUPPORT TO BLACK COMMUNITIES IN RESISTANCE!
ALL OUR SUPPORT TO OUR NORTH AMERICAN ANARCHIST PEERS!
LONG LIVE ANARCHISM, LONG LIVE FREEDOM!
VICTORY TO THOSE WHO FIGHT!

☆ Coordenação Anarquista Brasileira – CAB (Brazil)
☆ Federación Anarquista Uruguaya – FAU (Uruguay)
☆ Federación Anarquista Rosario – FAR (Argentina)
☆ Organización Anarquista de Córdoba – OAC (Argentina)
☆ Federación Anarquista Santiago – FAS (Chile)
☆ Vía Libre (Colombia)
☆ Union Communiste Libertaire (France)
☆ Embat – Organització Libertària de Catalunya (Catalonia)
☆ Alternativa Libertaria – AL/fdca (Italy)
☆ Die Plattform – Anarchakommunistische Organisation (Germany)
☆ Devrimci Anarşist Faaliyet – DAF (Turkey)
☆ Organisation Socialiste Libertaire – OSL (Switzerland)
☆ Libertaere Aktion (Switzerland)
☆ Melbourne Anarchist Communist Group – MACG (Australia)
☆ Aotearoa Workers Solidarity Movement – AWSM (Aotearoa / New Zealand)
☆ Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front – ZACF (South Africa)
☆ Anarchist Unión of Afghanistan and Iran – AUAI
☆ Manifesto (Greece)

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We’ve known since Grenfell and Windrush what it’s like to be gaslit by the Tory government

“Keep the same energy you have for Dominic Cummings’ misdemeanours for issues that specifically affect the underprivileged during Covid-19.”

gal-dem

It has been nine long weeks since Boris Johnson first declared the national lockdown. Throughout this time, people have witnessed their incomes dwindle, oftentimes to nothing at all, their livelihoods stripped away from them, weddings, concerts, graduations all cancelled. And many of us have been experiencing real heartbreak and tragedy, the kind that before now only really existed in apocalypse films and dystopian novels, with patients dying alone in ICU and their loved ones unable to attend their funerals, with sick relatives struggling alone in their homes and thousands of people enduring a kind of grief that is marked by solitude and self-isolation. All for the sake of the greater good, so that hopefully, other people would escape the earth-shattering losses that they had the misfortune to experience. However, now it has been revealed that all of this sacrifice, forgoing the chance to hold a dying parents hand or help out a struggling friend with children, is in fact “optional”. Well, at least to the PM’s closest and most trusted friends.

A joint investigation by the Guardian and the Daily Mirror revealed that

read article

Racism and Close Supervision Centres, by Kevan Thakrar.

Over the past decade the levels of racism in society have drastically increased with the use of discriminatory language becoming acceptable to the extent that the country’s Prime Minister has felt safe to deploy such abuse. With this becoming common in the mainstream media, as well as demonisation of Muslims through the prejudicial policy known as ‘Prevent’, it is of no surprise that prisoners have suffered as a result.

So many prisoners lack a basic education, that enables them to be easily influenced by the propaganda sprouted by the likes of the BBC. For those illegal regimes of practically 24 hour lockdown, the television can quickly become their only source of comfort. Day-after-day of minority groups being negatively portrayed whilst living under conditions recognised worldwide as torture, is a recipe for brainwashing with devastating effects.

The rise of racist gangs, especially within high security prisons holding men who can be serving up to a whole life sentence, coupled with the tendencies to resort to drug taking to pass the time which has meant in recent years the mind altering ‘spice’, has spiralled out of control. Unsurprisingly, it is within the most oppressed, desperate and disturbed of the population that this phenomenon can best be identified.

The Close Supervision Centre (CSC) system was originally designed by the sadistic Michael Spurr back in 1996, long before his unfortunate rise to leader of the entire prisons and probation service. Its intended purpose from the beginning has been to brutalise these prisoners labelled as posing too much of a control problem on a wholly arbitrary basis. Since the day it opened in 1998, racist scum have occupied its units both as staff and those detained within. The repressive slide of wider society’s models and values, coupled with the ideologically driven swingeing cuts to the legal aid and prisons budgets causing even harsher conditions, have left around one third of CSC detainees seeing racism as correct.

The majority of the CSC prisoners who are racist have sought refuge within the CSC, preferring blatant and ridiculous behaviours to be designated as too much of a risk to be managed on main location. Many of them have already tried to seek safety within a Vulnerable Prisoner (VP) wing first, or believing that by not officially becoming a VP makes then somehow not be seen as the cowards that they are. It is with this background that their behaviour within the CSC can be understood, as unlike anyone with any sense, they actually want to forever be CSC prisoners both for their own protection through their isolation from mainstream prisoners, and the foolish belief that it is somehow a badge of honour to be labelled as a CSC prisoner.

Officially, the CSC holds only the most dangerous prisoners, which currently is around 50 men. The racist element within this population is unlike the rest, they crave the dangerous reputation in the hope that this will be enough to protect them and cause their otherwise disgusting pasts, which tend to be of a sexual nature, to be overlooked or forgotten. They stand out and they know it. With many of them having banded together seeking safety in numbers in the racist extremist gang calling themselves ‘Death Before Dishonour’ (DBD), or their ‘secret’ codename 4-2-4 signalling the position of the letters in the alphabet, one would imagine it would be easy to separate this insidious group.

Screwboy is a term used throughout the prison system for a prisoner who does the bidding of the prison officers or ‘screws’. It should be unimaginable for someone within the CSC to appropriately be referred to as a screwboy, yet about every single racist there displays the behaviour that would lead them to be an outcast at best within the mainstream population. Here is where the most significant difficulty arises, the racist scumbags in the CSC are effectively working for the screws against the minorities they live alongside for power partly, but also to remain within the CSC. This includes providing false information to legitimise someone being stitched up, harassing minorities with constant abuse shouted out of windows etc for all to hear, and even attacking minorities usually with weapons from behind. When these behaviours are rewarded rather than punished, they become more and more attractive to others suffering the CSC regime, who will often join in with it.

The CSC Operational Manager is responsible for the placement of CSC prisoners throughout the 6 units currently in existence, and throughout the segregation units of high security prisons. The man holding this title at present is Stephen Waldron, formerly in-charge of the now abolished Managing Challenging Behaviour Strategy (MCBS) and before then a junior governor of HMP Durham. During his tenure at MCBS, a significantly smaller role, a Ukranian racist extremist who was in prison for the murder of a Muslim prisoner for ‘praying too loudly’ during his previous prison sentence, was made to associate with Muslim prisoners at HMP Woodhills MCBS Unit. Ignoring the fact this scumbag was only not on the CSC because HMPPS support racist attacks, as the centrally managed MCBS unit contained as few as eight prisoners maximum it could not have been difficult to foresee the conflict inevitable by his presence. The final outcome being that the other prisoners had, had enough of him, and killed him. With a history like that, you would expect Waldron to be especially sensitive to the placement of racists alongside minority prisoners.

Waldron has been reported to have told officers who have been complaining that since he took over the CSC, their job has been made significantly more difficult due to him allocating prisoners to the same unit who cannot mix, generally due to racist beliefs and minority characteristics, that they should be careful what they wish for––as, if he placed together only those who got along, they would attack officers as soon as the cell doors opened instead of each other. A calculated policy therefore appears to be in operation, which can easily be seen by the increasing frequency of racist attacks occurring since his appointment.

It is within this environment, under these circumstances, surrounded by more and more scumbags, where I have been living for the last ten years. Emboldened by the support of their masters, ignorant of the consequences of their actions and decisions due to being in a constant state of intoxication through prescription medication and/or spice, these racists have made it impossible to tolerate their existence any longer. Having arrived at HMP Full Sutton in September, within three months I have twice been attacked with a weapon by a racist as I have sought to avoid conflict to enable me to progress out of this oppressive system.

The first attack came from the certified VP, John Mansfield. He tried to hit me with a metal flask he had just filled with boiling water. Fortunately, I managed to block it, and being in full view of CCTV and four officers preventing anything further, I assumed it would be dealt with. Following his guilty plea at adjudication of the charge of assault, Mansfield was given a suspended sentence to go on top of his multiple other suspended sentences. As also expressed a fear to ever be unlocked with me again, my regime time has been cut to around forty percent of what others get, to allow him to be out without me.

The last time Mansfield had conflict with another prisoner on this unit, he paid his mate Kevin McCarthy to try to stab the other guy. It was not difficult for him to do this, as Mansfield wears dentures––having none of his own teeth remaining––meaning when being administered controlled prescription drugs, he can easily hide the tablets behind the dentures. McCarthy accepted the tablets out of his friends dirty mouth, before engaging in the attack, which resulted in him being knocked out, as the intended victim saw it coming.

Then there is the fact that only two years ago, McCarthy cut the throat of a prisoner, who at the time was disabled and using a walking stick. Whilst at the servery of the HMP Whitemoor CSC Unit, McCarthy waited for his victim to begin receiving his meal so his hands were full before cutting him from behind with a razor, then running back to his cell. His motive? Well earlier that day, another prisoner had reprimanded him over his ongoing failure to do the job he was paid for and clean the prisoners’ facilities, leaving others to have to do it for him. As that prisoner was Muslim, McCarthy thought attacking a disabled, defenceless Muslim in retaliation was acceptable, despite him having nothing to do with it.

Why McCarthy was ever allowed to mix at all so soon after his previous violence cannot legitimately be explained, but it was through the support of the HMPPS psychologist he shares with Mansfield, Louise Coughlin, that this was signed off. As the CSC management were fully aware of McCarthy’s history and loyalty to Mansfield, to place him in the cell directly opposite the servery, and to unlock him as I collected my meal, so he could sneak up behind me without being searched goes beyond negligence. He strolled past two officers, weapon in hand, then in full view of five officers who made no attempt to alert me, sound the alarm, or restrain him, McCarthy began stabbing me in the back using two hands in attempt to plunge it through me. I was not aware what was happening, could just feel the banging in my back and hear him growling, ‘die,’ behind me. As I turned around, confused by the lack of action, McCarthy back beyond the officers who duly protected him, so much so that he was allowed to walk back to his cell with the weapon as the officers focused on me as if I was the threat.

Despite McCarthy’s intent, his weak physical prowess limited my injuries. Most of what he did left scratches as the only blemish, with only a few strikes actually breaking the skin with the deepest wound around 1 cm. Had he been armed with something requiring less strength than a ten-year-old child to operate, my life would have been in serious danger. The governing Governor of this prison, Gareth Sands, visited this unit a couple of days later but made sure I was locked away before coming on to the landing. This dishonest weasel went around writing everyone, including McCarthy and Mansfield, ‘Merry Christmas’ whilst not saying a word to me or doing his job to check on my welfare. With that level of attention from senior management, how could anyone conclude anything other than that HMPPS do not care whatsoever about those they are paid to look after.

Within seven days of the attack, and before any attempt to search or secure evidence had occurred, McCarthy was allowed to pack all of his belongings to be taken to the main segregation unit with him the following week where he had requested to be moved to. Until the move occurred, he was held in the end cell on this unit where he was supplied with his game console and radio, as well as prison issue TV to make his stay easier. Mansfield remains one of five prisoners sharing this unit with me, making sly comments as he’s allowed to freely pass my cell as I remain locked-in for his benefit.

In 1997, Amnesty International (AI) condemned this unit causing it to be shut down and its then name of Special Security Unit (SSU) to be abandoned. Functioning as a CSC, with so many seriously mentally ill and/or racist prisoners now being allocated to what AI said was torture, is significantly worse. My experience of this unit is that it should never have been reopened, and the safety of anyone held here will always be at risk.

Kevan Thakrar A4907AE Close Supervision Centre
HMP Full Sutton
Stamford Bridge
York
YO41 1PS

www.justiceforkevan.org

Contactable via emailaprisoner.com