The “Workhouse” is, essentially, a medieval torture facility built in 1966 to warehouse working class black people who can’t afford to pay exorbitant bail and court fees. If you can’t pay, they throw you in here. Once you are in here, you are forced to fight for the amusement and gambling of guards, deal with black mold, infestations of vermin such as rats and roaches, and food unfit to be fed to animals. The general line of those who have had the misfortune (imposed by capitalism) of ending up in this hellhole is “Close It!”. This month’s storm was brewed by the revelation that incarcerated comrades are forced to survive in this facility in conditions without air conditioning in temperatures that have reached all time highs for our area. Saturday, July 22, saw record breaking temperatures outside of 108 degrees Fahrenheit. Inside, the temperature is 10 degrees higher due to the fact that the facility is built out of brick. Reports from comrades who have been incarcerated as recently as a week ago have informed us that people have been fighting for access to the trifling popsicles, ice, cold water, and access to “the hole” where there is cool air. All showers are hot. Comrades inside called for those on the outside to “help”, and help we did. On Friday, July 21, revolutionary minded and progressive elements from a variety of organizations and ideological tendencies ranging from anarchism to Marxism-Leninism-Maoism to “this shit is fucked up-ism”, along with the advanced masses, many of whom have been inside or have relatives inside this facility showed up to shut it down.
This was a noise demo, and make noise we did. The fence was weak. Our comrades raised the motherfucker and a few brave comrades scaled the fence and breached the first perimeter. There were roughly 300 comrades there that night, and we had great success. There was real solidarity built between those on the inside and outside. Messages of support were exchanged, and we witnessed several family reunions, mothers bringing their children to meet fathers that they had never seen before, forced to communicate between two fences and a brick wall. This is what capitalism does to us. There were various opportunist local political elements present, but the militancy of the crowd and the adherence to the “Close the Workhouse” line neutralized them and they were forced to stand back and shake their heads at us. Let them shake, because they’re shook. We also had the presence of family members of Vinny Hammett, a victim of police murder on the South Side last month, who was killed when a SWAT team barged into his residence, shared with his grandfather, a Vietnam Veteran, and riddled the house with bullets. The police then proceeded to manufacture several lies, all of which were easily disproven. Justice for Vinny Hammett, Mike Brown, Vonderrit Myers, and Kajieme Powell will not be served truly until the people rule, and to ensure that the people rule, a mass movement and a revolutionary party is needed. The police were woefully unprepared for the rebellion that we had in store, and could not get organized and mobilized until 45 minutes after the demonstration began. They waited until nightfall and began their usual fuckery, bringing out the riot gear and making the “this is an illegal gathering” announcement. They brought out a tow truck to frighten and intimidate comrades who had parked their vehicles on Hall Street. We have reports that they punctured the tires of comrades who parked further out of the way. They then proceeded to bash with riot shields, use pepper spray indiscriminately, and attack/single out presumed “leaders” and advanced elements, especially black women, for attack. A comrade was hauled off brutally, all while being called homophobic slurs by our notoriously homophobic pigs. Pushed us all out into Hall Street so that we would get hit by cars. Essentially, they tried to kill us. But they fail to realize that even if they get rid of everybody that was out Friday, the struggling spirit runs deep in this city and the building of the revolution in this city will continue until final victory. Comrades returned Saturday night, the hottest night of the year, and there was an increased riot police presence and brutal attacks on individuals who were out the night before were done with disregard to the fact that cameras were present. STL Pigs don’t care, as we learned from Ferguson. They had sealed off access to the Workhouse grounds, forcing comrades to demonstrate across the street.
We were also treated to a display of blatant hypocrisy. The pigs were given an entire Metro bus to sit in and stay cool when they felt the need. Who missed work for the pigs, that is the question! Pigs began to mock and torment comrades, and would routinely make feints across the street to try and provoke fear. It began to rain, and the pigs turned on floodlights, causing at least one auto accident. Once again trans comrades and comrades who were seen Friday were singled out, manhandled and arrested for no reason whatsoever. Once again the world saw the pigs and their class nature. The demo dispersed, all determined to strengthen ties to those on the inside, all determined to close the workhouse, all determined to link up and strengthen ties and build a united front to close the Workhouse across racial boundaries, across geographic area, across ideological spectrums. This is a class struggle and a class war and our cadre and mass members are being sharpened, trained, and built up through participation in mass struggles like that to close the Workhouse. Saint Louis dares to struggle, and we shall win whether it takes us a day or 3 million days. We have received a temporary “victory” in the form of “temporary” AC units (costing the city $40,000/day) installed Monday. This is not a temporary struggle, and even if they make the workhouse so cool that ice forms on the floor in July, we will never be satisfied until we are dismantling it brick by brick. This is one step on the road to inevitable victory.
Sunday saw the demonstration called by the city’s Muslim community against the Zionist siege of al-Aqsa Mosque. Comrades from PYO-STL responded in solidarity and the desire to build stronger ties of anti-imperialist solidarity with our Muslim comrades. Comrades used their discipline and training to successfully drive away and neutralize the impact of Zionist and fascist trolls who had shown up to attack and disrupt the demonstration and the public prayer. The masses of the Muslim community extended their heartfelt thanks at the fact that we displayed international solidarity and material support as one of their holiest sites falls under attack from imperialist occupiers. This shows that the correct decision for the revolutionary at all times is to stand firmly alongside the people, to unite with their interests, and to defend their right to religious expression and their land. Long Live Palestine! End the siege on al-Aqsa!
Dare to Struggle, Dare to Win!
Close the Workhouse, Free the People Immediately!
Justice for Isaiah Hammett, Vonderritt Myers, Mike Brown, Kajieme Powell, and all who have been murdered by the police nationwide!
We Will Make Revolution in Our Lifetime!
End the siege on Al-Aqsa!