Announcing the Free Virginia Movement!

By Uhuru B. Rowe
March 1, 2017
E-mail: uhururowe76@yahoo.com

WHY THE FREE VIRGINIA MOVEMENT?

A Federal law known as the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 (VCCLEA) includes a provision called the Violent Offender Incarceration and Truth in Sentencing Incentive Grants (VOITIS) which provides grants to state and local correctional systems to expand their capacity to incarcerate violent offenders and impose larger and more determinate sentences.
Continue reading “Announcing the Free Virginia Movement!”

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Virginia State Republicans’ Proxy War Against Poor, Black and Brown People and the Birth of the Free Virginia Movement.

By Uhuru B. Rowe*
June 10, 2016

Well, it seems another Virginia (VA) Governor may bite the dust. Recently, CNN reported that Democratic VA Governor, Terry McAuliffe, is under investigation by the FBI and the U.S. Dept. of Justice for alleged improper financial contributions made to his 2013 Gubernatorial campaign by a Chinese businessman estimated to be worth $1 Billion. Continue reading “Virginia State Republicans’ Proxy War Against Poor, Black and Brown People and the Birth of the Free Virginia Movement.”

Boycott Keefe 2015

This statement is intended to keep the Keefe boycott fresh on the agenda for
2015. In the wake of organized strikes in prisons all over the country in 2013 and 2014; the recent national multiracial protests surrounding the police killings of Eric Garner and Michael Brown, and the grand jury’s decision not to indict their murderers — Officers Daniel Pantaleo and Darren Wilson; and the October Month of Resistance against mass incarceration, police terror, repression, and the criminalization of a generation, the conditions under which the prisoner-class is being subjected to is ripe for resistance.
Keefe Commissary Network Sales (Keefe) is a private mega-conglomerate
corporation that has taken over commissary operations inside numerous prisons and jails across America. There is no question that Keefe is price-gouging prisoners. Nor is there a question that the goods/products Keefe sells to prisoners are of a poor and defective quality. The question is what actions can we take that can lead to qualitative changes in our environment?

Our torturous, prolonged confinement is the result of “tough on crime” political rhetoric and “truth-in-sentencing” laws enacted in the early to mid-90’s which made federal grants available to any state willing to abolish parole and mandate its prisoners to serve at least 85% of the sentence imposed.

One such law is the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 (VC-
CLA), which was sponsored by then-Texas US Representative Jack Brooks and
signed into law by then-President Bill Clinton. This Act included a provision called
Violent Offender Incarceration and Truth-in-Sentencing incentive grants (VOITIS)
which provided funds to state and local correctional systems to expand their capacity to incarcerate violent offenders and to impose longer and more determinate
sentences.

According to the Office of Justice Programs within the US Dept. of Justice, between 1996-1998 28 states received over $680 million in truth-in-sentencing incentive grants in exchange for abolishing parole and implementing this so called 85% law. Virginia received a total of $11,201,786 during this period. According to the General Accounting Office, 15 out of 28 states indicated that these grants were either a main or partial factor in their enactment of truth-in-sentencing legislation, including Virginia. In reality, these states traded human lives in exchange for capital (money) to expand the Prison Industrial Complex.

We can bear witness to how private monopoly corporations like Keefe, JPay, Global Tel Link, GEO group, ACA, etc. had a vested interest in and benefited from the passage of VCCLA and VOITIS.
Because we of the prisoner-class are imprisoned pursuant to the political agenda stated
above, we are ALL political prisoners. Therefore, in response, we must become polit-
ical, and stop being willing pawns in a system that has brought nothing but death, de-
struction, and despair to the New Afrikan (Black), Brown, and poor white communities.
Don’t order a so-called gift package from Keefe’s subsidiary, Access Secure Pak.
Buy only essential items from the private prison commissary, such as hygiene prod-
ucts, stationery, stamps, and survival foods like Ramen soups and peanut butter. If you file a complaint against Keeefe with the Consumer Protection Division at PO Box 899, Jefferson City MO 65102 they will issue you a case number where you
can compile evidence and related documents in regards to Keefe’s price-gouging
tactics. File complaints with the Federal Trade Commission at 600 Pennsylvania
Ave., Washington DC 20580. Send them copies of commissary price lists and your commissary receipts.  Every complaint we file and every collective step we take will
“cause a ripple in the ocean of oppression” to quote my comrade B. Nimrod.
Power to the prisoners who don’t fear justice!

From Access Secure Pak’s Gift Package Program to all Prison Commissaries Operated by Keefe: Boycott! Boycott! Boycott!

This is a reminder that if we collectively struggle against the Prison Industrial Slave Complex from inside the Belly, we can win!

I put out a Call to Action during the summer of 2013 to the prisoner-class which was published in Prison Action News.  This call to action, inspired by the California prisoner hunger strikers and those comrades who organized the Agreement to End All Hostilities, was meant to encourage hose of us who consist of the prisoner-class to actively and aggressively organize a boycott and letter-writing campaign against Access Secure Pak’s (a subisdiary of Keefe) egregious price-gouging tactics being perpetrated upon us through its quarterly “gift package” program which is designed to accomplish one goal: maximize profits by exploiting prisoners and our families.

I am putting the prisoner-class on notice that this boycott and letter-writing campaign is bing expanded to include all commissaries in all prisons owned and operated by the private corporate vender “Keefe Commissary Network Sales” which has been allowed to monopolize all prison commissaries here in the Commonwealth of Virginia and many other localities throughout this Imperialist Empire.

Keefe is a virus which, if left unchecked, will slowly spread while feasting on the prisoner-class and our families.  Its belly is bloated with the funds they secure through blatant price-gouging tactics; funds that we voluntarily give them that we’ve earned from our slave-wage jobs; and funds they gain from our families – many of whom are working-class and poor families that barely survive on minimum wage.

If the prisoner-class at large feels no motivation to struggle against private corporate interests operating inside these prisons, consider this: private corporations like Keefe, Global Tel Link (GTL) and Corizon invest a portion of the money they gain from us to hire lobbyists and make political campaign contributions to politicians’ political action committees (PAC).  These “hired” politicians (at the urging of the lobbyists working for the corporations) then introduce legislation to congress, which, if passed (and many of them are), will result in much longer prison terms and an increase in the overall prison population.  The longer prisoners stay in bondage, the more money these monopoly corporations like Keefe, GTL, and Corizon stand to gain.

Thus, the more money we of the prisoner-class spend with Keefe, the more we unwittingly pay and invest in our own incarceration.  We need to research the laws of our respective states to learn how we collectively con lodge Federal Anti-Trust and Consumer Protection complaint against Keefe.  Is Keefe price-gouging the hell out of us?  Is the quality of products Keefe sells of poor or defective quality?  Then we must organize across racial, organizational, political, and gender/sexual lines to oppose and boycott Keefe.  Buy only essential items from Keefe’s commissary such as hygiene and stationary.  Don’t order a “gift package.”  Organize letter-writing campaigns against Keefe, Located at PO Box 17490, St. Louis, MO 63178 and put them on notice that we are boycotting their price-gouging tactics and that the boycott will be ongoing until they dramatically lower their prices and start selling products that are of “like grade and quality” as products sold out in the general public.  File complaints against Keefe with the Consumer Protection Division at PO Box 899, Jefferson City, MO 65102.  Together we can WIN! ALL POWER TO THE PEOPLE AND TO THE PRISONER-CLASS!

A Call to Action: Boycott/Protest Access Secure Pak and its Spring/Fall/Holiday Package Program

This memo is designed to inspire/mobilize/encourage us to come together
in solidarity in boycotting/protesting corporate-prison-profiteer “Access Se-
cure Pak,” its parent company “Keefe Commissary Network,” and its so-
called “Spring/Holiday Package Program.” This package program is a scam. Over
the past 10 years or so, Access Secure Pak has marked up the prices of their goods
as much as 100% while at the same time downsizing the size of their products.
Now they have increased the spending limit from $75 to $125 so they can swindle
us and our families out of even more money. The Package Program is a carefully
orchestrated scheme by the VA Department of Corrections, Access Secure Pak, and
Keefe Commissary Network, not to mention Global Tel Link to scam money out
of the pockets of our loved-ones, many of whom are poor, living check-to-check,
on government assistance and barely have enough money to pay their bills. These
corporations are multi-billion dollar corporations, but those that are making them
the billions are poor and exploited prisoners and our families. Access Secure Pak,
through its Package Program, gives the Department of Corrections hundreds of
thousands of dollars in bribes in the form of “kick backs” to allow them to do their
business inside their prisons so they can exploit us and our families out of what little
money we have. The DOC then uses these kickbacks to finance lavish parties in the
name of “Officer Appreciation Day,” finance lucrative pay bonuses for DOC staff,
and build new prisons which they don’t even have the inmates to fill.

Whatever our affiliations are, we need to join hands in solidarity and respect, under a common cause, in boycotting Access Secure Pak and its bogus, money-hungry Spring/Holiday Package Program. We should immediately notify our
families and friends out in society of this boycott, many of whom will be more than
glad to join us in this struggle as they will no longer have to send what little money
they have to this greedy, corporate prison profiteer in the name of a sham program.
All “new” inmates who arrive at these prisons should be made aware of this protest.
We see the weaker ones amongst us going to the prison staff to get a package order
form because they have not been informed about this boycott, or because they can-
not resist the big, colorful, glossy poster that Access Secure Pak and its inmate volunteers tape to the walls in every pod or dorm to entice us to spend our money with
them. We need to firmly encourage them not to break the bonds of solidarity in this
boycott. All prison activists, revolutionaries, anarchists, etc. should hold meetings
every day to keep the spirit of this boycott alive so that on the day that the packages
are passed out, there will be ZERO inmates going to pick up a package. We should all notify our friends/comrades/homies at other prisons about this boycott so they will
join us in this cause so that this will be a state-wide and perhaps a nation-wide boycott of Access Secure Pak. All of us who have been complaining and crying about
how the prison system is exploiting us and mistreating us, well here is your chance
to act and step up and show some back-bone, and more importantly, some unity.

We need to all write a letter to Access Secure Pak, 10880 Lin Page Place,
St. Louis, MO 63132 and notify them that we are boycotting them and that this
boycott will continue until they meet our demand of substantially lower prices.

In solidarity,
All power to the people!