On December 31st, over 80 people responded to the call for a noise demo outside the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) in downtown Manhattan. The crowd easily filled the street in front of the institution and an aural ruckus filled the air from noisemakers, voices, air horns, a variety of drums, and even a proper brass trumpet.
Anti-prison and anti-police chants from the crowd accompanied a banner reading “BURN THE PRISON SOCIETY.” Rebels in the street cheered on the caged and excluded as they banged on their windows, flicked lights on and off, and gave other signals of life from within an otherwise deadening, lifeless building. We made sure those on the other side of the wall know that they are not alone.
We moved back and forth around the building to be sure everyone could hear our screams and tried to be as close as possible to the cell of anarchist hacker Jeremy Hammond as we chanted his name.
Let’s make 2013 a terrifying year for capitalists and state operatives the world over and a joyous year for those seeking the triumph of life over death.
OUR PASSION FOR FREEDOM IS STRONGER THAN THEIR PRISONS
FOR THE ANNIHILATION OF PRISON AND THE PRISON-SOCIETY
When some of NYC ABC arrived early to prepare for the New Year’s Eve noise demo, there were already folks there. By 9:00pm, our numbers had grown and we had enough potential noise to reach the prisoners inside MCC New York– a federal Metropolitan Correctional Center cemented into a maze of other city, state, and federal buildings. Though organized by NYC ABC and not an OWS event, it was posted by OccupyWallSt.org on their front page and this drew ever more folks. In the high rise prison, cell lights flickered on and off as silhouetted prisoners showed their connection to what was going on outside.
Whereas critics of the demo questioned the effectiveness of protesting with noise on the noisiest night of the year, this was not an appeal to authority. We were not there to change policy, nor to sway opinion. We were there in solidarity with those locked up, to let them know that they were neither forgotten nor alone. As the demo grew louder, more revelers made their way into the street, the noise bringing more people who in turn brought more noise. By 9:30, amid chants of “you are not alone,” and “Occupy Wall Street is in town! Burn the prisons to the ground!” the crowd fell silent and, via call and response, the following statement made its way to the prisoners:
“To many it feels like we live in a time like no other with surveillance and repression at every turn, but also resistance, rebellion, and open revolt. This is neither the new golden nor dark age, it is simply another moment in time where we can collectively force conflict with a fundamentally fucked system.
Every day there are revolts of varying scale, most of which you never hear about. For those captured in revolt, we come together in protest and celebration. Through the din of revelry and rage, we tie ourselves to those who suffer systematized white supremacy and war against the working class, behind steel bars and safety glass.
Prison is a means of social control to be absolutely destroyed.
Here’s to the total destruction of a prison-based society!
We hold in our hearts comrades soon to be or recently imprisoned: Tim DeChristopher, Norberto González-Claudio, Leah Henderson, Mandy Hiscocks, Peter Hopperton, Alex Hundert, Erik Lankin, Adam Lewis, Breanna Manning, Joy Powell, and Justin Solondz.
YOU. ARE NOT. ALONE.”
As the chants and noise restarted, it was clear folks were getting antsy. Within ten minutes, we took to the street. Heading against traffic, and with cops either busy with Times Square or expecting us to head to Zuccotti Park, we were able to make our way to a crowded intersection, that leads onto one of the city’s high traffic bridges. At that point, still 200 strong, the chants, dancing, flyer-bombing, and noise took over. “A-Anti-Anti-Capitalista” rang through the streets, folks on foot, on bike, and in cars took flyers to figure out what this was all about. Some came off of the sidewalk and joined in. After holding the intersection for fifteen minutes, it was time to move on.
NYPD showed up and were deftly outmaneuvered. As they tried to race around the narrow streets of Chinatown, we surged. A lone police cruiser made the mistake of rushing up, two slack-jawed buffoons jumped out, and as quickly as they had gotten out, they were shouted down, told to get the fuck out and hopped back in. They turned the block and were gone. We moved on, though cops on foot and in more cruisers were making the situation tense.
All told, we suffered four arrests, the last being a bicyclist who was tackled and pulled to a waiting van for allegedly riding the wrong way on a largely deserted one way street. After a few minor clashes with cops, calls were coming in that still more folks had arrived at MCC and were asking that we rejoin them. As we made our way back to the prison, there were in fact 50-75 folks already there. We rejoined the demo, made more noise, and eventually scattered to the wind.
May this simple night of noise-bringing carry momentum into a new year of open conflict with the state and capital.
WHAT: Puppet Show History of the Prison Industrial Complex
WHEN: 7:00-9:00pm, Tuesday, July 12th
WHERE: Book Thug Nation [100 North Third Street, Between Berry Street and Wythe Avenue, Brooklyn]
COST: Free, but we’re passing a hat (Roadshows need loot to travel. Otherwise, they’re just shows).
Join NYC ABC and Book Thug Nation as we welcome a traveling puppet show of a history of the Prison Industrial Complex from slavery to where it is today. There will also be some other road show elements and presentations as well as a few anti-capitalist fairy tales using rod puppets. The roadshow is a product of the Mysterious Rabbit Puppet Army, whose past work highlighted security culture in the midst of the feds and cops working to destroy our movements and communities.
The tour will raise awareness about the Prison Industrial Complex and the ways in which police and policing hurt our communities.
“Our goal in this tour is to use art to explore these relationships and brainstorm with our audiences how we can fight this brutally racist system,” said Mysterious Puppeteer Michael Snacks.
The United States currently imprisons nearly 3 million people. About 6.5 million people are presently under some form of supervision within the criminal justice system. Racism continues to be a major factor in the United States, illustrated by policies and programs that sustain white supremacy. Racism, as it is used through criminal laws that target people of color, is essential to prisons, not accidental. The Prison Industrial Complex is also fueled by dramatic and racist reporting about “crime,” “delinquency,” and “rebellion,” creating a culture of fear. As a result, people (primarily people of color, youth, and the poor) are locked in cages for longer and longer in the interests of “public safety.” The way the many parts of the Prison Industrial Complex interact is exactly what makes it so powerful and destructive. In order to fight this system, we have to recognize what drives and shapes it.
These shows are child-friendly and we greatly encourage you to bring younger folks to this event. The focus is not sub-culture specific, in an attempt to make it more appealing to a larger number of folks.