tv Democracy Now LINKTV August 30, 2018 8:00am-9:01am PDT
08/30/18 08/30/18 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from pacifica, this is dedemocracy now! >> the last thing we need to do is to monkey this up by tried to embrace a socialist agenda. in thehe handbook of dononald t, they no longer d do with vocals. they are now using full bullhorn. amy: after progressive candidate andrew gillum pulls off a stunning upset in florida's democratic primary for governor tuesday, putting him on a path to become the state's first african-american governor, he
was attacked within hours by his republican opponent -- handpicked by trump -- who warned voters not to "monkey it up" by supporting gillum. even fox said they don't condone his comment. we will speak with two activists who have worked with gillum, phillip agnew and charlene carruthers. she is author of the new book "unapologetic: a black, queer and feminist mandate for radical movements." then we go to mississippi where prisoners are dying at the highest rate the state has ever seen. 13 prisoners have died behind bars this month alone. finally, an update on the nationwide prisoson strike as organizers report fasts and work stoppages. it it you imagine what takes for person in prison, they're saying,g, i'm not goingo eat this food you are feeding me because i would rather be sick?
i would rather not be what you need me to be that pertain you are treating me well? that is a powerful statement. amy: all of that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. "a fantastic job." that is how president trump is describing his administration's response t to the catastrophe in puerto rico follllowing hurricae maria a year ago. trump made the comment on wednesday, a day after puerto rico adjusted its official toll from the storm to almost 3000. that's 46 times higher than the eaearlier death toll of f 64. during hisis brief comomment, tp mamade no reference to any of te deaths on the island. pres. trump: i think puerto rico, i think we did a fantastic job in puerto rico. we are still helping quarter ago. the governor is an excellent guy. he is very happy with the job we have done.
we have put billions and billions of dollars in a puerto rico. it was a very tough one. don't forget, their electric plant was dead before the hurricane. if you look back in the records, that plant was dead. it was shot. it was bankrupt. it was out of business. they had to close up. when the hurricane can come people said, what t are we going to do about electricity? that wasn't thee hurricane, it wawas gone before the hurrrrica. we p put a lot of moneney and et in a puerto rico. i think most of the people in puerto rico really appreciate what we have done. amy: president trump was responding to a reporter's question about the death toll of nearly 3000. in addition to not mentioning the new death toll, trump also lied about the status of puerto rico's electrical system. the island only lost power after the storm. soon after the president spoke, the mayor of san juan puerto , rico, carmen yulin cruz, responded on msnbc.
telling somebody that has gone through a fire that it is their fault, that they did not run fast enough. no. it is your fault, mr. president. shame on yourself inward administration. you let us here to die because you're more concerned about the political spin then about the we weren'tty that dying. and now that number, 297975, wil followow h him wherever he goesr the rest of his lifefe. amy: "the washinington post" is reporting the trump administration is increasingly denying passssports to u.s. citizens of mexican heritage, throwing theheir citizenshipip o question. the trump administraration has even begun jailing some passport applicants who have e official state-issued birth certificates because the government is questioning their paperwork. in other cases, americans of mexican heritage have had their passports revoked while abroad
and preventing them from coming home. in one case, the state department denied a passport to a 40-year-old army veteran named juan who had a birth certificate showing he was born in texas. according to "the washingtgton post," juan'n's passport was rejected even though he had spent three years as a private in the army, then as a cadadet n the border patrorol. he nowow works a as a state prin guard. "the new york times" is reporting education secretary betsy devos is preparing new policies on campus sexual misconduct that would bolster the rights of students accused of assault, harassment or rape while lessening liability for institutions of higher education. the new rules would also narrow the definition of sexual harassment. it would also hold schools accountable only for conduct occurring on campus. in related news, baylor university has been accused of infiltrating sexual assault survivor support groups on campus. according to pr week, baylor's director of student activities, matt burchett, joined the sexual assault survivor support groups and pretended to help them organize demonstrations and
vigils. but in fact, burchett was gathering intelligence on the groups and helping water down their critiques of the school. the christian school is run by kenneth starr, who led the investigation n of president clinton in the 1990's. a texas police officer roy oliver has been sentenced to 15 years of prison for fatally shooting unarmed 15-year-old african-american student jordan edwards last year. police body cam video shows oliver, who is white, fired his assault rifle into a car carrying five black teenagers. one of the car's passengers says the officer never even ordered the boys to stop driving before opening fire. california lawmakers have approved a measure to require 100% of the state's electricity to come frfrom cararbon-free sos by the yea202045. if governor jerry brown signs the bill, california will join
hawaii as the only states with goals to phase out fossil fuels. earlier this week, brown said the state must "confront the apocalyptic threat of irreversible climate change." brown made the remark after a state study revealed rising temperatures in california could lead to up to 11,00 additional heat-related deaths in the state every year by 2050. in september, governor brown is hosting the global climate action summit. democracy now! will be broadcasting from san francisco throughohout the week of the summit. president trump announced on twitter wednesday that white house counsel donald mcgahn will be leaving his post this fall. trump's announcement came less than two weeks after "the new york times" reported mcgahn has been cooperating with robert mueller's investigation. three of mcgahn's deputies have already left the white house and a fourth leaves tomorrow. this will leave trump with just one deputy counsel. according to "the new york
times," trump has asked former staff secretary rob porter several times over the past year if he would take mcgahn's position. but porter declined the offer. porter resigned in february after both of his ex-wives publicly accused him of domestic violence. in news from florida, repupublin senate candidate ron desantis appearared on fox news w wednesy and urged voters of florida not to "monkey it up" by voting for his democratic challenger andrew gillum, the first african-american gubernatorial nominee in florida's history. >> the last thing we need to do is to monkey this up by trying to embrace the socialist agenda with huge tax increases and bankrupting ththe state. that is not going to work. that is not going to be good for florida. amy: during the same interview, desantis referred to gillum as an articulate spokesman for far-left views. terrie rizzo, the chairwoman of the florida democratic party, criticized desantis's comments saying -- "it's disgusting that ron desantis is launching his general election campaign with racist dog whistles."
gillum himself said it is not a dog whistle, it is a bullhorn. in other politico news, new w yk governor andrew cuomo and actor cynthia nixon sparred on wednesday in their only debate before the september 13 democratic gubernatorial primary here in new york. nixon is challenging cuomo from the left, running on a platform calling for medicare for all, marijuana legalization, and abolishing ice. during wednesday's debate, the two o democrats repeatedly clashed. >> he stole hundreds of millions projectrs from the mta -- he used the mta like an atm, and we see the result. he has had 7.5 years to avoid this very unavoidable crisis in our new york city subway him and he has done next to nothing. why would the next four years many different? >> my opponent lives in the
world of fiction. i live in ththe world of fact. let's just do a few facts, ok? the subway system is owned by new york city. the subway system -- folks it has been controlled since 1965. folks can you stop interrupting? folklks can you stop lying? >> as soon as you do. amy: that is cynthia and it in an governor cuomo debating in the only debate before t the democratic primary on september 13. the united natioions has accused the nicaraguan government of repressing and retaliating against government critics following wide scale protests. according to a new report by the united nations high commissioner for human rights, approximately 300 people have died and 2000 have been injured since april. the u.n. report accused the government of carrying out extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, and arbitrary detentions and torture in detention centers.
zeid ra'ad al hussein is the outgoing u.n. high commissioner for human rights. >> we're issued a report calling for urgent action to address the human rights crisis in nicaragua. where the level of persecution is such that many of those who participated in the protests that erupted in april, defended expressing-- dissenting views, have been forced to hide, have left nicaragua, or are trying to do so. amy: nicaraguan president daniel ortega dismissed the u.n. rerept saying it has ignored violence carried out by anti-government forces. >> the international reports completely ignore the deaths caused by the murderous coup mongers. they want to rip up a peaceful population. they've just come to kill public servants, sandinistas to destroy hospitals and schools.
amy: in news from latin america, brazilian president michael temer has announced plans to send troops to brazil's border with venezezuela to deal with te growing number of refugees enteringng brazil. the use of today armed forces to guarantee law and order, naturally to offer security to brazilian citizens and to the venezuelan immigrants who are fleeing their country in search of shelter in brazil. amy: according to the united nations, more than 1.6 million venezuelans have fled the country since 2015 with most going to brazil, colombia, peru, and ecuador. venezuela is facing food shortages amid skyrocketing inflation caused in part by crippling u.s. sanctions, which has cut off venezuela from billions of dollars of potential loans and some of its oil revenue. in education news, the detroit school system has shut off drinking water to all of its schools after tests foundd elevevated levels of lead in 16 schools.
the announces comes just before school starts for 40,000 students in detroit. and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. nermeen: and i'm nermeen shaikh. welcome to all of our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world. we begin today's show looking at how progressive candidate andrew gillum pulled off a stunning upset in florida's democratic primary for governor tuesday, putting him on a path to become the state's first african-american governor if he wins in november. the 39-year-old mayor of tallahassee was backed by bernie sanders and spent millions less than his better-funded opponents, including former congresswoman gwen graham, the daughter of bob graham, the former governor and senator. gillum was the only non-millionaire in the five-candidate race. on the campaign trail, gillum called for medicare for all, abolishing ice, reforming the criminal justice system,
repealing florida's stand your ground law, and increasing corporate taxes. president trump hand-picked repealing florida's stand your republican opponent in the governor's race, congressman ron desantis. on wednesday, he tweeted, trump tweeted -- "not only did congressman ron desantis easily win the republican primary, but his opponent in november is his biggest dream, a failed socialist mayor named andrew gillum who has allowed crime & many other problems to flourish in his city. this is not what florida wants or needs!" desantis, who is white, then drew widespread outrage wednesday when he used racist language to describe gillum in an interview with fox news. >> you h have to work hard to me sure we continue e floridida gog in a good direction. let's build of the success we've had on governor scott. the last thing we need to do is to monkey this upy trying to embrace the socialist agenda with huge tax increases and
bankrupting the state. any go during the same interview, desantis referred to gillum as an articulate spokesman for far left views. fox news anchors andrew smith later told viewers -- " "we do not condone this language and wanted to make our viewers aware that he has since clarified his statement." desantis' spokesman stephen lawson said -- "ron desantis was obviously talking about florida not making the wrong decision to embrace the socialist policies that andrew gillum espouses. to characterize it as anything else is absurd." andrew gillum later appeared on fox news himself and was asked to respond to desantis saying "monkey this up." he spoke to shepard d smith. >> yeah, that part was not lost on me. it is very clear that mr. desantis is taking a page directly from the campaign manual of donald t trump. but i i think he is anotother tg cocomi too him if you ththink tt
in today's day and age florida voteters are going to respspondo that l level of derision and division.. they are sick of it. what we're trying offer in this race -- >> was that racist or a figment of speech? , in the handbdbook of donaldld trump, they noo longero with so calls. they are now using full bullhorns. amy: for more, we are joined two guests who have worked with andrew gillum. in miami phillip agnew, , co-director of dreamam defenders, a community-based movement organization. in 2013,3, gillum was a city commissioner in tallahassee when agnew and the dream defenders led the takeover of the state capitol to protest the acquittal of george zimmerman in the shooting death of unarmed teenager trayvon martin. gillum supported their direct action. the nextxt year gillum was elecd mayor. agnew and the drdream defenders have also worked to support andrew gillum in florida's governor's race.
and in our new york studio, we are joined by charlene carruthers, national director of the black youth project 100. her new book is just out. it is titled "unapologetic: a black, queer and feminist mandate for radical movements." we welcome you both to democracy now! phillip agnew in florida, let's begin with you. first, your response to ron desantis and what he said just hours after this upset victory in the democratic primaryry whee andrew gillum won. talk about his words "monkeying it up." >> in florida, we call him a distraction. ron disaster. he is try to takakflorida b back into a vision of the past. we don't spend time talking about him. what we are talking about are
the issues that andrew talked about, which is a new vision. we say we're moving with 2020 vision. there's no need to look back. we just need to look forward. on tuesday, we saw the majority of people in the state of florida want to move ford of dust forward. they wanant races for a public school teachers. they want the elected official who is unafraid to say climate change, let alone engage with climate change. so we have an opportunity after two decades of republican trifecta leadership in tallahassee, the governorship, the house and senate, to actually shift our state and move it from being a political punchline to a model of what it looks like when the people have power. moving back and talking about candidates who obviously want to take us back to their storied past is not really worth our time, right? we have a vision we are putting forward, the freedom papers that say we can move from a state that invest and profit to a state that invests of people. we are excited about tuesday
because the climate in florida is one of affirmation right now. we have been knocking on doors for the last six years. a group of organizations has been working for decades to make sure that on tuesday, it takes 2020 years to be an overnight story, but we are excited and we knew this was going to happen. it was not stunning for us at all. nermeen: phillip agnew, you said you're looking at a 2020. what do you think gillum's victory might mean for the presidential election? victory and we's will have the opportunity to bring the franchise back to 1.4 million people that have had the right to vote stolen because they have a felony conviction in a racist state. with his nomination and eminent candidacy and the right to vote for 1.4 million people in the state of florida, it tells us we
have the opportunity in 2020 to change this state that went trump, andfor donald the opportunity to make a model here.. as the state goes, the country goes. we have an opportunity with those 1.4 million people with the election of andrew gillum as governor to turn this state blue , anand then to move a radical platform as we look to 2022 and 2024 and the next 20 years and the state. amy: phillip agnew, take us back to 2012. let's get a fuller picture of andrew gillum. he already made history, whether or not he becomes the governor of florida -- he would be the first african-american governor, he is the first african-american gubernatorial candidate of a major party. go back in time and talk about how dream defenders formed and your work with andrew gillum, how andrew gillum rose up through the ranks, coming home
to his state of florida to organize. >> amy, if you don't mind, i would like to go back to 2003. i met andrew gillum while i was a student leader in college. i wound up being student body president. andrew gillum had also run become the end is commissioner in tallahassee at that point. it was in 2003 after s seeing posters of millions of people who had dissented on tallahassee led by andrew gillum as a student leader in a march for affirmative action that i really learned the role as a student leader at florida and them, not one that is just concerned with the campus, but you're concerned with the lives of the people of the state of florida. andrew taught me that in 2003. in 2 -- in 2012 when we started this organization, it is really with a model of what andrew has led for many, many years in the state. we like to say andrew gillum isn't a friend of the movement,
he is part of the movement. he is part of a long lineage of people. not only in 2003, but in 2012, 2013, 2014 will we protested as mayor of tallahassee, he gave us a forum in tallahassee. what we have here is a person who has come from the grassroots , who has risen, who has stayed in the state, educated in public schools, went to college in to be thend now risen first black nominee for governor in history of florida. so this is a story of many years of hard work. this is not an overnight sensation. this is somebody who has put in the work, who has been there, and has been a model of people for many, many years and will continue to be one as governor. month-longd a occupation of the florida state capitol building. response to the
killing of trayvon martin and the whole justification, the standard ground law that george zimmerman used. so response explain your role iw as an elected official. >> we were protesting the acquittal of george zimmerman. the entire country was angry and up in arms and looking at florida for some sort of glimmer of hope. we said at that time, we had occupy the capital for 30 days, many people would not touch us but there were people like charlene, people like new florida vision, florida the rent coalition who supported that occupation. we said at that point andrew gillum was one of the only elected officials as a commissioner to help us to deliver food and to stand in the gap when people wanted to kick us out. we said at the end of the occupation a few years ago that we would be back, that rick scott had not listen to us and that we were going to organize in our communities and that we would be back to ensure that our
job was done. we thought it was going to take about two months for us to get back and bring the masses of people back to the capital and demand justice. little did we know that it would actually take many, many years and that this time when we come back to the governor's mansion and the gogovernor's office, we would not be occupying and yelling at a governor who w woud not t listen. we will be occupying for the next four years with the governor who comes from the ranks and knows how to build. andrew gillum has been there. this is just an affirmation, another promise kept by the movement of organizations on the ground in florida that we can build, when you knock on doors, talk to people, don't just rely on social media, when you do the hard work and don't seem to get results, and this is what you get. you get one of the most stunning victories in the country on tuesday. nermeen: during the campaign, andrew gillum said the standard ground law has created a state of emergency in florida -- stand your ground law has graded a state of emergency and called on
the governor to sustaiain the lw "when n won't, when i'm governor, i will" to them said. >> the csesequen of confionn of how stand your grnd i is apappld in thetatete c result in the loss of life ootherwrwe incecent pple.e. it is in fact an emergen in the state of flodada. when parents have to b concnened abt their children or theelves being doneown under the color of the law of stand your ground. , canen: phillip agnew you respond to what he said and also the impact of stand your ground across florida? >> of course we agree. i think if you look at the state of florida, we're a number of states of emergency. in education there is a state of emergency, criminal jujustice, d the environment there is a state of emergency. in health care there is a state of emergency. mayoyor gillum has a lot of work
to do on day one when he enters office. standard groround specifically s part of a bevy of laws put forth by marion hammer and the racisit in ra in the state of florida. what we have seen is laws germinated and buiuilt in floria are being exported around the country. for a law like standard ground to be stricken down in florida am a that bodes well for many other states that are fighting similar copycat laws that were started in florida. and the impact has been heavy. you now have a populace of people who have been living in trump's america for many, many years. they feel that just by being a little bit afraid of someone else that they can murder them in cold blood. what this has done is built in environment a great fear. when you go to school. we saw what happened many months .go in february in parkland young people are afraid to be in school. they are afraid to be in our neighborhoods. if you live in liberty city, you are afraid because you have done violence there as well.
we have an environment that is friendly to guns and very unfriendly to young people. with mayor gable -- with mayor gillum and governor gillum in office, we have the opportunity to put the brakes on that and begin to bring forward a new bevy of laws that create a safe environmnment, that aren't invested in guns and the nra, but invested in the livelihood of young people, women, immigrants and citizens of florida. amy: we're also joined b by charlene carruthers, national director, founding director of the black youth project 100, author of "unapologetic: a black, queer and feminist mandate for radical movements." you go way back with phillip agnew, set right? back to element or school? >> yes, we went to the same elementary school on the southside of chicago. amy: and you go back with andrew gillum. if you can talk about how you knew him? >> and about 2011, 2012, i was part of a program called the
frontline leaders academy. basically, they brought together black, brown, lgbtq young folk from across the country to train on how to run campaigns, and even more importantly, how to run for office ourselves. amazingly since then, some of my members have been elected. andrew was part of the leadership of that program, alongside rebecca thompson. what i remember most about andrew at that time -- amy: this was in washington, d.c.? >> yes. what i remember most and years later was his accessibility. his willingness to listen. his s spirit that was open and welcoming to young people. i remember his sister, who is sorority sister of mine, she is behind a power campaign, too. i'm excited the campaign and the organizations, including during defenders, including florida
coalition, color change pac, who are on the ground and decided to invest in the voters and the people that other candidates and parties passed along the way. when you bet on our people, it is not risky. it is not a gamble. it is a sure bet, right? we sell well over 500,000 voter increase -- we saw well over 500,000 voter increase in the primary election in 2014? that is huge to see. that does not happen because people felt like getting up to that one day. it happened because that a platform to believe in. that a candidate running on a platform to believe in. they showed up because they had organization who valued their opinions and valued the issues enough to impact their lives to fight for it. nermeen: what do you think gillum's means, not just for florida, but across the u.s.? i am from chicago where we
have a number of rank-and-file democrats who are perhaps democratic in name, but all other ways they are corrupt. mayor rahm emanuel in chicago to various members of our city council to the person who sits as governor of the state of illinois. tohope is it sends a signal organizations and individuals to say that we need to move radical agendas and not just focus on candidates. gillum is amazing. you would not have received this nomination for the democratic party had he not had a platform that young people, that immigrgrants, that black folk, brown folk -- amy: the media had put him fourth. you have stacey abrams who has become the first african-american governor of georgia. you have been jealous, if you wins, would -- is running for governor of maryland. then you have andrew gillum, who
would become the first african-american governor of florida. in theined as activists manner you are talking about, in these kind of -- i remember when states he abrams won, ben jealous tweeting a picture of them organizing years before. >> it is super important to be clear about the importance of moving platforms, moving an agenda that is about universal health care for all people, ending money bail, legalizing marijujuana -- which we know the are people, our people can are sitting in jails across the country while this has been legalized. candidates matter, sure. but they also need backup when and if they are elected. becomes when gillum governor, when abrams becomes governor, when jealous becomes governor, if they don't have a grassroots base to hold them accountable and to move that agenda, they won't be successful. nermeen: i want to turn to laura
ingram commented on andrew gillum's upset victory in the democratic gubernatorial primary in florida. >> gillum as the african-american male version of and are accosted cortez. young, dynamic, running on a platform of universal medicare, legalized marijuana, and abolishing ice. exciting. he is viewed as kind of a savior from the struggle hold of the party's establisishment has hadn their desires, hopes, entrance. nermeen: can you comment? wherews, that is the same they said "monkey this up." >> we sought in 2008, 2012, and a version in 2016 where conservatives, republicans, where the media that is also control the corporate interest used not just these
whistleblowers, but as andrew noted, bullhlhorn, to really l y theieir values at on the table.. what we need to focus on right now is not actually the opposition. what we need to focus on are the folks who are invested in moving a radical agenda both in the state of florida, the state of georgia and even in my home state of illinois, and absolutely in the state of maryland. because these folks, they are a distraction for what is possible. we know even in the state e of governor, -- at my l last count, there are e more registered fols who are registered to vote for the democratic party. the thing we have to do is actually use the work to turn us folks out and mobilize them not just for the election, but beyond election day and get them organized. amy: we want to ask yoyou to sty with us, charlene carruthers, founding director of the black youth prproject 100, author of a new book "unapologetic: a black, queer and feminist mandate for radical movements." we want to thank phillip agnew
co-director of dream defenders, , in florida based committee movement and organization that work -- to elect organized fiercely for andrew gillum in his upset victory in the democratic primary for governor in florida. when we come back, we're going to go south to look at mississippi. the surge in deaths in mimississippi'i's prisons. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
amy: "water" by dinosaur jr. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with nermeen shaikh. nermeen: we now go to mississippi, where prisoners are dying at the highest rates the state has ever seen. 13 prisoners have died behind bars in the month of august alone. that's compared to 47 prisoner deaths in mississippi in the entire year of 2015. mississippi department of corrections commissioner pelicia hall has insisted the death or
by natural causes and told reporters -- "the number of deaths the department is reporting is not out of line with the number of deaths in previous months." but advocates and family members are demanding answers for the shocking spike in prisoner deaths, including the killing of 24-year-old nija syvallus bonhomme at the privately run wilkinson county correctional facility in southwest mississippi. bonhomme died in his cell after what officials say was a fight with another prisoner. but his family says that the prison failed to protect him from violent conditions that led to his death, allowing him to return to his cell after a violent altercation withth his cellmate. his sister told democracy now! -- "they threw him back to the dogs." amy: the unprececedented numberf deaths in mississippi prisons comes s as prisoners across s te nation arere striking to demand improved living condnditions, greater access to resources and the end of w what prisoners are calling modern day slavery.
we go to jackson, mississippi, to speak with jody owens. partrt of a recent lawsuit agait the mississippi department of corrections alleging grave abuses of prisoner rights at a private prison. jody on wednesday and asked him to respond to the spike in prisoner deaths in his state. >> we continue to see a spike. doing prison litigation in mississippi promised a decade e and we havee not seen numbebers this type ev. --my: what is happening now go what is happening? >> you mention our trial with the aclu poverty law center. even during the trial, there were four deaths at a facility in east mississippi during the trial. can you imagine we are trying a lawsuit and people were
successful in committing suicide? and alla violent death too often these deaths we're seeing that happen this month is the prisons are discouraging health expenditures. so individuals when they desperately need help, they find themselves getting medical help to hospital at the last minute and often too late. amy: tell us the story of nija syvallus bonhomme. what happened to him and where was he? where was the prison facility and who ran it? >> he was at the wilkinson county facility, which is a private facility. it was previously managed by the geo corporation and now company out of utah. in mississippi -- similarly througughout the c country -- te privivate facililities arere thr worst and most violent because they are generally understaffed purposefully so that gangs control l the facilities, which the e officers cannot respond to
incidents. in this instance, thisis 24-year-old young g man lost his life due to a fight with another inmate. difficult it is very to get any information about what happened in these prisons. they have no champion. that no legislative or city cocouncil support. these fights and these murders go very often unchecked. he was toldily said to carry a knife in jail, not by the other prisoners, but by a guard. and that he was in a dangerous cell. they took him out of the cell because of the other prisoner, then put him back into it, and that is when he was attacked. that is when the fight happened and he was k killed. that, ifd thing about you do a simple google search of showingppi contraband, hundreds and hundreds of knives and cell phones and weapons that have been confiscated.
the commissioner, commissioner hall, post they're getting weapons out of the prisons. nobody has asked, why are there so many weapons in prison and why do people feels so unsafe? protectd they havee to themselves. not if you have a prison that protects peoeople from harm and provide safety and security. people don't hahave to do that. if you're in a place where several of our guys will tell you, what hundred, 150 guys with no staff or one staff member. they have to protect themselves because the prisons will not. mississippi is faiailing in ther obligation t to provide constitutionally safe prisons. as a r result, it isis every mar woman for themselves. amy: this was a private prison? folks correct. amy: talk about the differerence betweeeen the private and public prisons and mississippi. >> mississippi yesterday public
prisons -- missssissippi has the public prisons. are three private as well. supposedly, private are supposed to run prisons cheaper. 10% cheaper than the public facilities. we find that not to be the case. we find they never fill their staffing guidelines, while all the while they're being paid every day per day per inmate. keepey are revised to inmates as long as possible and incentivizized to be profitable. the only way they can be profitable is to be understaffed. theing you can run up -- only way to run n a prison of te understataffed is to let banks d the role oftake guards for safety and security, which is no safetyty in a security. we of series contraband problems. a lot of the deaths in prison
are from overdosing on drugs. we have a spike. we know the drugs and contraband is being run directly to the prisoners to the staff were largely because the staff are so underpaid and soap poorly triggered. there -- and so poorly triggered. that mandatory post for staffing. the reality is it is a heavily dominated female staff, guarding male population, not having the resources to be successful or save themselves. they often are compromised just to survive because the job is so poorly valued and poorly compensated that we find it is an epidemic of a very serious system that is set to fail. what is really sad about mississippi's population, not an different from any populations, is half of these individuals are nonviolent. there's a female prisoner who passed away this month.
got parole and july 1 but had not been released yet. nonviolent,, suffered from drugs. these are nononviolent offenders who are dying. these are not people we are scared of if they are free. they need help. because mississippi is incredibly weak mentntal health system of getting help, they find themselves locked up and often dying in prison. incarcerated workers organizing committee, the organizing committee of the prison strike across the country tweeted -- "why #prisonstrike? because at this point it's about survival." how aware aree review -- are you of the prison strike? >> we are very aware. we've seen this strike unfolding. we think it is a positive thing. the only time a a suppressed grp of individuals will ever have
any rights is if they take ownership of it. this forced labor come the so-called slave labor, it has to be explained. individuals are getting paid pennies, one dollar for a days work at best, for hard manual labor. far below minimum wage. livable wage. when they get out of prison, they are not getting anything for their labor, for the hard wear and tear on their bodies. this has to stop. individuals working for free to benefit counties and states, but not being compensated for it is unfair. when given alternative to solitary confinement in a cell or go outside a mole on, and vigils want something to do -- individuals want something to do. people deserve s some level of wages for working. that is undisputed in any other atmosphere in the country and would be illegal. it should be illegegal for prisons. secondly, they want better
conditions of confinement. can you only imagine what it takes for an individual who is in prison and cannot pick and choose, cannot go to a store to eat or fast food restaurant, they're saying, i'm not going to this food you are feeding me because i would rather be sick, i would rather not be what you need me to be then pretend you are treating me well. that's a a powerful statement. value touch economic discount to or this city thahat you expxpde -- exploit us as cheap labor. why i call it slavery. it is not right. there shshould be a system in plplace we canan work on that fy compensates inmates for the labor they provide. when they are released, they can -- they mayy can hahave money saved up or they cn support their family. we're not asking to be paid exorbitant salaries, but decent for what they do. amy: how often are the airstrikes and missisissippi?
this is a nationwide strike in the e corporate media has hardry covered it. how often does this hahappen behihind bars inin your state, ? >> we're seen n a strike -- it takes organization, obviously. this strike and larger strikes in texas and georgia, interesting enough, inmates have been able to record date through contraband cell phones -- been able to coordinate through contraband cell phones. i've seen it at least yearly in mimississippi. the attention it deserves. the mentality in mississippi and fafatoo often n throughout the coununtry i is, who cares about these individuals? if you don't have a loved one or know someone who i is incarcerated, you rarely keep up or know what is happening in prisisons, so you don't see it. but suddenly, you know, for some the highway grass is having cut or facilities ththat were being cleaned by processes not
happening. then people want to get involved. far too often, the most vulnerable population working a debtbt to society y are nonot tt in n a manner t that reflects their sufferering and their well-being. amy: jody owens, what does s a strike inside a mississippi prisison look like? >> the strikes we have been involved in is individuals refusing to need and work. -- to eat and work. you can imagine if you bring food -- what is interesting, when you bring food to individuals, most of the services in these prisons are contracted out. provides foodes for a lot of the -- they are contracts, the way private cavities that moneney off ththe incarcrceration of peoplple, the same thing applies to health care services. , a health cuppany day, provides all of the health care for mississippians, which is why it is so sigignificant.
these are chronic illnesses. i inssippi mustt ask centauri to do the study to o determine y people are dying in the prisons and what actions they can do to reduce the risk. strikes are no different. when we find individuals refusing to eat are lethargic, that is a public crisis. you have to eat to survive and to live.e. you have to drink. people willing to say, i can't live in the circumstances so i would rather die. when you see multiple individuals doing so, you are asking, frankly, guards and prisons and m mississippians tot knowledge that we don't care if these people die -- to acknowledge that we don't care if these people die. you are acknowledging the situation is so bad, they won't eat. so it is a cry for help. it is a cry for h help. unfortunately the people who see it most are the guards who are the underpaid, overworked.
these -- if p people are e willg to die because conditions are so bad, what does it say about us? amy: that was jody owens, , speakingnd managing of the 13 deaths in mississippi alone, including nija syvallus bonhomme who died in his cell after officials say was a fight with his sououlmate. after break, we will have more on this prisonn strike. ♪ [music break]
amy: this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with nermeen shaikh. nermeen: we end today's show with the nationwide prison strike, as prisoners across the country join work stoppages, hunger strikes, and commissary boycott in at least states to 11 protest prison conditions and demand the end of what they call prison slavery. today marks the 10th day of the strike. organizers report that prisoners in south carolina, georgia, florida, and indiana are demonstrating. individuals in texas, california and ohio went on hunger strike, including some in solitary confinement. meanwhile, at least six people have been hunger striking inside the northwest detention center
in tacoma, washington, for more than a week. this is one of the hunger strikers murat speaking yesterday from jail. >> i am on hunger strike, seven days, five days without water. the nation with situation now, everybody on hunger strike. amy: for the latest, we go to seattle, washington, where we speak with amani sawari, a prison strike organizer working on behalf of jailhouse lawyers speak, a network of prisoners who are helping organize the nationwide strike. welcome baback to democracy non! we just played the clip from the prison in your state, washington. why don't you begin ththere and take us across the country, what you understand is happening behind bars? it is getting so little coverage in the corporate media. lawyer speaks comee to incarcerate a group of individuals who are organizing the strike from the inside, have received reports from at least
11 states of what is happening with the actions that prisoners are taking on the inside. washington, 200 of the detainees in the northwest detention center kicked off the strike on the 21st, and at least six of them are still going strong today. in colorado and new mexico, there are prisoners that started striking prior to the 21st day. august 9 is when the county correctional facility started in new mexico. every day since the 20th, those prisoners have been on lockdown. the lockdown was a statewide lockdown in new mexico and prisoners are still on lockdown in lee county. in colorado, sterling correctional facility had their hunger strike. there is also five institutions and florida on strike. charlotte correctional institution has at least 40 prisoners refusing to work and 100 that are boycotting. in day correctional, at least 30
prisoners, reports up to 40 prisoners who are hunger striking. -correctional reports 60 prisoners, holmes report 70 prisoners participating. there's also activity in a -- another florida facility in florida. in indiana, live wabash correctional institution hunger striking. there is the most activity in south carolina. we're broad river, lelee, hununger, kerershaw striking and doing commissary boycotts.. inin north carinina, live a a lt onee facilityy. we have at least one facility. there are also prisoners sufferering in solitary confinement for participating in the strike. you're just a prison is on a hunger strike. in california, we have new. prison. iny are also hunger striking lancaster state prison. in ohio, toledo correctional institution on strike. in texas, at least you
facilities. we have to have in solitary confinement. one has not been allowed to take showers. they are hunger striking. jason walker has not been allowed to have paper towels -- 12 paper, towels, or cling close in retaliation to his organizing the strike in texas. nermeen: can you talk about what we know about the levels of ce in prison? is one of the goals to into violence between different prison gangs and ensure the security of prisoners who are involved? >> prisoners are striking against a violent climate. the way prisons are operated tdu inside violence. prisisoners are cacalling out
against the conditions that inside violence. there is not much to engage the mind. there is still emotional services, no mental services, no mental-health services, things that could occupy the prisoners time and help them with their development while they are in prison. they want to have access to jobs that are valuable, jobs that give them the skskills they y nd to prepare them for being on the outside. the lack of these types of funding and rehabilitation programs for that type of funding keep violent conditions going. staff are complicit either because they're too tired or too overworked to respond effectively to incidents of violence, which keep violence going on, which is what happen in lee county in april of this year when violence went on for over seven hours. when a conflict arises that easily sparks often into violence because there is the other outlet for these tensions and negative energy circumstances that prisoners are forced to live within.
if thereyou talk about has been retaliation against prisoners who are engaging these strikes across the country, and then respond to governor brown signing off against cash bail, and your resesponse. >> so, yes, like i mentioned earlier, comrade maliki is suffering from retaliation. his retaliation started around august 15. he was moved into solitary confinement. he is in a concrete cell that is over 100 degrees fahrenheit in texas. elle is soot covering his c from fires previously in his unit. he is not allowed to take showers. easily havelowed to given indications with the outside. he cannot talk on the phone. this is the type of retaliation prisoners are suffering that have been taking a lead in the strike. jason walker wrote an article about the conditions of texas
prisons. after they article was written, which raised awareness about what was going on in texas, he was moved to solitary confinement. even in groups like south carolina, prisoners and mccormick have been having daily strip searches done on them since august 20, the day before the strike began. david easily and james ward, they are in ohio in toledo correctional facility, and they have no contact with the outside. they're not allowed to have contact with the outside. they are also in solitary confinement. we can see retaliation is happening against individual organizers, usually in the beginning and now we're seeing when individual image are standing up and choosing to strike, they're being moved in solitary confinement as a repressive force for what is happening with the strikes to try to keep prisoners from joining into what is happening. but this is usually spreading the fire. it is getting something ignited and prisoners. prisoners no this is a climate
where they can actually step up and feel supported. there have been solidarity marches and events happening in at least 21 cities across the country. amy: your response to california governor brown signing off a bill saying g their ending cashh bail? afraidt of people are and saying that prisoners might be in jail longer due to the lack of access to cash bail. we don't see this helping the people that are already over policed and black and brown communities. there is a bias towards people that end up there. we do see this causing more restrictioions and friction on e inside. this does not look like the savior bill that we are suppororting. amy: amani sawari, thanks for being with us prison strike , organizer working on behalf of jailhouse lawyers speak, a network of prisoners who arere helping to organize the nationwide strike. the strike began august 21, the 47th annual of the killing of
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