Leading up to Milwaukee’s Shut Em Down 2021 mobilization, it’s important to remember that there are rebels and fighters in Wisconsin prisons. We don’t often hear about the kinds of massive strikes, uprisings, and escapes that are tracked at Perilous Chronicle, but that doesn’t mean people are safe or passive within Wisconsin prisons. Part of the Shut’Em Down mobilization in Milwaukee will include holding up the sacrifices and struggles of Wisconsin prison rebels in greater depth, but here is a start.
A brief resistance history
During the 2020 pandemic, documented resistance to prison increased dramatically, but Wisconsin’s prisons were very effectively locked down. The the DOC put security and control over health and safety. We heard of little direct action other than a brief, staff-assisted escape. Meanwhile, outside solidarity during the pandemic included home demos targeting DOC secretary Kevin Carr and Governor Evers, a COVID Compassion Campaign demanding Evers issue emergency pardons, and body bags dropped on secretary Carr’s lawn. None of these efforts proved effective. The George Floyd marches and the Kenosha uprising also overshadowed the prison crisis for many, while Evers and Carr allowed DOC staff to neglect prevention and punish prisoners for getting sick. More than half of the DOC population were infected, no pardons were granted, and an unknown number of deaths piled up.Continue reading “Resistance, solidarity, and repression in Wisconsin”